A number of industries in the United States involve manual labor and working with large, heavy loads, such as logging or construction. These industries, and their workers, need the right hardware to get a good day’s work done, and this may include a cable choker, a logging choker, cable and rigging products of all kinds, or web slings. Safety comes first, of course, for both human life and for property. So, workers should always be careful that they are using the correct hardware or cable choker for the job, and that the cable choker or sling in question is in good shape and is rated for certain weights. If a cable choker is not strong enough for the job, a sling may be used instead. In what cases is a cable choker the best option, or when should a sling be used? And where does worker safety fit into a construction project?
Haul That Load
Construction, logging, and similar industries call for lifting heavy loads, such as a steel beam to its intended position during a project or lifting a fallen log into the bed of a dump truck. These loads are far too heavy for human labor, so instead, cranes and winches are used to lift these heavy loads into position. But a crane or a cable choker should not be taken for granted; different chokers and slings have different weight limits on them, and they may sometimes suffer from wear and tear.
A chain sling is one such model to consider. These heavy-duty chains may be able to carry very heavy loads, such as logs or piles of bricks on a palette at a construction site. But as with any other piece of hardware, a chain link sling must be used properly to prevent an accident. For example, the workers must be aware of a chain link sling’s maximum weight, and they can get this information from the manufacturer or maybe the seller. Bearing this information in mind can help prevent breaks in the chain and dropping cargo, which may threaten human life or property nearby. And at any rate, a chain link sling should also be carefully looked over to check for damage in the chain links, warping in the chains, or tangles. Any of these issues call for repair right away, and a faulty sling should not be used until the faults are corrected. In the meantime, a substitute sling should be used.
Polyester synthetic slings are also available, and they will not suffer from damaged chain links or tangles like a chain link sling would. But here again, maintenance is key, as is the weight limit. Workers must be sure that the sling is not being used for loads over its intended weight capacity, and a polyester sling must be looked over to find any tears, rips, or other issues that need correcting.
A cable choker, meanwhile, may do a fine job for smaller loads. This is a flexible metal cable with a loop on each end, and like with a dog leash choker, one loop can be threaded through the other and the choker is cinched around the cargo. This is ideal for smaller loads, but if just one is used, the cargo may freely rotate or swing around. In some cases, this may be a safety hazard, so multiple cable chokers can be used, such as one at each end of a beam to keep it steady.
Falling is a bigger concern in the construction industry and other manual labor jobs than some may realize. In fact, accidental falls rank as the leading cause of deaths at construction sites, so OSHA set up regulations about falling hazards in 1971. Today, violations of these fall hazard codes are the most common OSHA violations, so workers today are encouraged to be more careful than ever. Temporary guard rails, for example, may be set up on a construction site to prevent falls, and harnesses can be used, too. A building, early in its construction, will probably just be made of steel beams and other bare surfaces. Here, workers can be fitted into harnesses and slings to prevent falls if they lose their footing or balance.