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Just How Important Are Lifting Gear Inspections?

Well that all depends on how much you or your employer values safety and takes on their responsibility to provide a safe workplace with regularly checked equipment.

There is a misconception that lifting gear inspection is only applicable to the centre bearers of the load like chains and rope.  That is a huge misconception as you need to consider the wide variety of hardware and accessories that are used between lifting equipment and the load to attach the load of the equipment to. If we consider the strain clamps, hooks, shackles and eyebolts go under why should they be forgotten?

The majority of inspections on lifting gear and accessories should be conducted every 3- 6 months. For all other lifting equipment a maximum of 12 months.  Synthetic sling has a specified period of 3 months between inspections.  However, we need to consider the fact that this is subjective to the dependency of the following factors and would result in periodic inspections:

1. Long periods of inactivity
2. Major modifications, repair or replacement of critical parts
3. Exposure to conditions that cause deterioration

Common inspection frequencies

·         Synthetic Slings – 3 monthly, mandated by AS4497.2

·         Winches, Blocks and Hoists (AS 1418) – 12 monthly for general use, 3 monthly for intensive use

·         Chain (AS 3775) – 12 monthly for general use, 3 monthly for intensive use

Some other considerations when assessing frequency include:

·         The usage of the item and the level of duty (is it loaded to its working load all the time)

·         The usage and storage environment, such as dirty or corrosive worksites

Various types of lifting gear are more prone to early degradation. For example, slings made of synthetic fibres and some wire rope slings with soft eyes can be expected to need more constant examination.

There are two types of inspections available in most of the Australian Standards – in-service and periodic.

Prior to each lift, the user conducts a thorough visual inspection. This entails a good look over the equipment (sling, lifting points, hook) to identify there is no significant damage or wear. Additionally, this inspection requires the user to the WLL (Working Load Limit) tags or marketing are fitted and legible. If any defects are located they should be noted, equipment is withdrawn from the job/service and inspected by a professional inspection service who will deem the equipment as usable, repairable or discard it.

These inspections are carried out by inspectors who are adequately documented to either clean or inspect the gear in an appropriate environment that will pick up any issues the equipment might have. The inspectors have been trained to look out for common weaknesses and assess the current state of it.

If you are having difficulty with determining what your lifting gear falls under in inspection time frames or if you are looking to getting a quote for your next inspection please contact us at sales@schillings.com.au or call 1800 724 455.


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