Prior to June 8, 2011, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards regulating load capacities for slings were pursuant to tables developed and based on the 1971 ANSI B30.9 Standards. In revising the standards, OSHA found that the load-capacity tables contained duplicative, inconsistent and outdated information that confused compliance requirements. The revisions are made both in the general industry standards and the construction standards. (Section 1910.184 and Section 1926.251)
The new requirement prohibits employers from loading slings in excess of the recommended safe-working load as prescribed on permanently affixed identification markings. The revisions are the same as those proposed, and no comments were received opposing the revisions. The Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO supported the revisions commenting: that “Worker safety will be enhanced by removing from the sling standard references to outdated working-load tables and by strengthening the existing requirement that employers comply with the rated capacities specified by the sling manufacturers.”
The BCTD and AFL-CIO agreed that the employers were required to guarantee that the identification markings provided by the manufacturers are affixed to the slings at all times they are in use; employers must be prohibited from exceeding the load capacity indicated on the affixed identification marking; and that any sling that has had its identification markings detached must be taken out of service until new markings are affixed.
It has already been a practice for manufacturers to produce slings in accordance with the specifications as they were prescribed in ANSI B30.9. Manufacturers also routinely affixed labels to the slings that identify the manufacturer’s names, safe-load capacity and the type of material to be loaded. The only effect of the new rule is to make sure that the tags/labels provided by the manufacturer do not become worn or damaged. If the markings are damaged, employers need to replace them with new legible markings. With these revisions, OSHA believes it has eliminated the confusion from the information that was duplicative, inconsistent and outdated. Reliance on the markings simplifies compliance by employers.
Based on these revisions to the load-capacity standards, it is recommended that employers inspect the tags on the slings on a regular basis. If a tag on a sling is missing or damaged, the sling must be removed from use immediately. The sling should not be placed back in use until a new tag is affixed to the sling. By ensuring that the tags, with readily available and current load ratings, are affixed to the slings, employers can rely on the information contained on the markings in order to fully comply with the new load-capacity requirements.