14/09/2006 - 05:00 am

Cal/OSHA Proposes to Eliminate Use of Synthetic Slings with Platforms

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health is moving to prohibit the use of synthetic webbing, natural, or synthetic fiber rope slings in the suspension of a personnel platform from a crane or derrick. Instead, wire rope slings are recommended.

The proposal by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health is based on the standard set by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). ANSI/ASME B30.23-1998 Safety Standard for Cableways, Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Hooks, Jacks and Slings Personnel Lifting Systems which prohibits the use of synthetic webbing, natural, or synthetic fiber rope slings.

The use of synthetic webbing, natural, or synthetic fiber rope slings is considered dangerous because damage to the material cannot always be determined by visual inspection, which is currently required by existing Title 8 standards and manufacturer recommendations. The proposal states that, “the inability to detect damage before the sling is placed in service could result in catastrophic failure that could result in serious employee injury or a fatality. Because fiber rope and synthetic webbing is damaged by heat, flame, corrosive materials and abrasion, it can be hazardous to use them with personnel platforms intended to suspend employees and equipment, which may include welding and sandblasting equipment.”

Brad Closson, chairman of the B30.23 Personnel Lifting Systems Committee, notes that while the California board is moving to adopt the ANSI standard, there has been a revision of the standard and the 1998 standard is no longer current. “A complete set of criteria for the both the personnel platforms, and the slings, are found in ASME B30.23 • 2005,” said Closson. “While the requirements on this issue are the same in both editions, the referenced 1998 edition was superseded with the issuance of the 2005 edition on January 25, 2006 and its design criteria will become effective January 24, 2007.” Closson also notes that the use of chains is not included in California's proposed wording of the standard, and is an acceptable form of suspension for a personnel platform.

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