choosing lifting slings

Common Lifting Slings and How to Choose the Right One

In 1971, fall protection measures were published by OSHA for general industry regulations. In spite of this, falls remain the most frequent cause of death on construction sites.

One way to safeguard yourself and your team from falls is by using the correct lifting slings for your work.

Lifting and moving heavy objects is dangerous and can contribute to falls and other injuries. Choosing lifting slings based on the work you have to do can help diminish the risk involved.

The following are some different types of lifting slings you should know about when you’re choosing lifting slings for your project.

Nylon Lifting Sling

Nylon slings are popular because they work well for multiple purposes and their structure isn’t affected by petroleum products, such as grease and oil.

Nylon slings are also unaffected by specific chemicals, including ethers, alkalies, and aldehydes. However, its durability can be compromised when in contact with bleaching agents or acids. It also shouldn’t be used in environments where temperatures are over 194 degrees Fahrenheit (or 90 degrees Celsius).

Nylon slings are also highly stretchable—up to 10% of their length—which makes it useful for wrapping securely around objects, but it won’t be helpful when elongation isn’t wanted.

Polyester Round Lifting Sling

Unlike nylon slings, polyester round slings aren’t sensitive to bleaching agents or most asides. It also has very limited stretch—only 3% of its length.

However, like nylon slings, it also shouldn’t be used in temperatures exceeding 194 degrees. It should also be kept away from alkaline or sulfuric acids.

Chain Lifting Sling

Chain slings are perfect for very rugged environments and tough jobs. They’re resistant to abrasions and cuts, and they maintain their integrity in extreme temperatures (up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or 204 degrees Celsius).

While normally constructed using Grade 80 steel, chain slings are available in Grade 100 steel when increased strength is needed. Besides being stronger, Grade 100 chains actually weigh less than Grade 80 chains.

Additionally, because chains can be conveniently linked to one another in limitless configurations, you can assemble practically any kind of sling for any purpose.

The downside to selecting chain slings when you’re choosing lifting slings for your project is that a chain hoist can be very expensive. Besides this, prices can vary because of market fluctuations.

Wire Rope Lifting Sling

Like chain slings, wire rope slings are incredibly durable and strong. They are also resistant to extreme temperatures. Unlike chain slings, wire rope is much more cost-effective.

Flexibility and abrasion-resistance change based on a wire rope’s configuration, which is represented by two numbers separated with an “X.” The first number indicates how many strands are used in a rope, while the second number indicates how many wires are used in a single strand.

For example, a 6×19 rope is made up of six strands, with 19 wires per strand.

A wire rope sling is usually made from either a 6×19 or 6×37 class of rope. 6×19 is the most common because it offers a balance of flexibility and abrasion resistance that’s ideal for most conditions. On the other hand, 6×37 rope is more flexible, but it’s also more susceptible to abrasion.


Hopefully this short guide has been useful in helping you choose lifting slings for your project. Remember that your crew’s safety can depend on the fact that you chose the right sling—so it isn’t something that can be taken lightly.