On a construction site, or at a logging site, heavy loads will sometimes be lifted. Sets of bricks or heavy pipes have to be picked up and hauled into position, or a fallen tree trunk needs to be placed into the back of a dump truck. These loads are far too heavy for even a team of workers to handle alone, so cranes take care of this job. But a crane is more than the lifting arm; slings and chokers are used to secure the load and lift it up. A logging choker, for example, is a cable with loops at each end. Logging chokers can have their loops threaded through each other once the choker is wrapped around a log, and this makes for a simple but secure lifting assembly. Multiple chokers may be used to keep a load stable. Meanwhile, slings such as chain or synthetic slings are used for construction project loads, and synthetic slings should be used properly to avoid accidents. Guard rails, too, can be installed to prevent harmful falls. Safety is always the top priority.
Chain or Synthetic Slings
Put simply, a chain link or synthetic slings are assemblies used to hold a heavy item while a crane lifts it. The crane’s own cable may end with a hook, and chain or synthetic slings can be secured onto that hook while carrying items as the load. Safety straps may be added to a load if it is comprised of many items loosely held together, and this prevents items from falling on workers. A construction site manager is expected to keep your workers safe, after all. If strong enough for the job, a sling can keep the load secure and steady while the crane lifts it, lowers it, and moves it around.
Slings are tough, but they are not impossible to break. Therefore, construction crews are urged to make sure that all equipment is being used properly. Some chain or synthetic slings may be rated for only certain weights or lighter, and using them on a too-heavy load may end in disaster. No one wants a load spilled because the sling was ruptured from excess weight. Synthetic slings are made from rubbery material and may have their maximum weight allowance printed on them for reference. Chain link slings, meanwhile, may have their weight maximum confirmed when the crews contact the sling’s manufacturer. Good sling care also extends to keeping the chains in a chain link slung straight, as tangles can compromise its integrity. Work out or damaged links should be removed and replaced before the chain link sling is used again, or there may be trouble.
Cable chokers are useful for lighter and simpler loads on a crane. As mentioned above, chokers are simple items that can be threaded through themselves to get a grip on an item. The use of just one such choker is possible, but the lifted item might spin around, and this may mean trouble. If need be, two chokers can be used, one on either end of a long item, to prevent such rotation and keep the item steady. These cable chokers may prove popular among loggers, and they are typically made of steel cables that are tough but flexible.
Slings and chokers keep loads secure, but what about the workers? Injuries from falling are more common than some people may realize, and for this reason, OSHA has set up some guidelines. In fact, a lack of proper fall protection ranks as the most common OSHA workplace violation. Currently, OSHA regulations say that guard rails should be at least 42 inches tall, with an allowance of three inches either way. Also, OSHA’s Fall Protection Regulations state that by the year 2036, American ladder safety systems must be on all ladders for falls from a height of 24 feet or greater. Often, these guard rails are temporary models that can be put up onto construction sites as needed, then taken back down once the work is complete. In other cases, workers might even make use of harnesses and straps to stay secure, not unlike a mountain climber. This can help prevent falls, especially in the early stages of construction.