Webbing slings, thanks to their lightweight, flexible and portable nature have multiple uses and applications. While we most commonly associate webbing slings with lifting and lowering tasks, they are capable of a huge range of other tasks.
Slings are now used in dozens of industries around the world, helping with everything from food processing plants to getting food on our tables, to manufacturing centres where they help create some of the products that we use every single day.
The article and infographic below shows just how versatile a piece of lifting equipment they really are! Keep reading to find out about the different webbing sling uses.
What are webbing slings?
Before looking into the various uses and application for webbing slings, it is useful to understand just why they are so adaptable. Slings are flat straps, often woven from polyester, that feature two looped eye holes at either end.
Their polyester construction means that they are light and flexible, making it easy for them to wrap around objects, items or loads. While this also means they are lighter than other pieces of lifting equipment, such as wire rope, it provides webbing slings, and their users, with a unique set of benefits.
This lightweight nature means that they are easy to transport and use, while they also won’t cause any damage or scratching to any loads that they are working with. It’s also important to note that although they may not be as strong as something like wire rope, they are still more than capable of heavy lifting, with some webbing slings being able to lift more than 10 tonnes. You can find out more about their different lifting capabilities below.
Universal colour coding chart
Webbing slings are safe to use for a variety of weights. Listed below is the universal colour coding chart:
- 1 tonne load = purple
- 2 tonnes load = green
- 3 tonnes load = yellow
- 4 tonnes load = grey
- 5 tonnes load = red
- 6 tonnes load = brown
- 8 tonnes load = blue
- 10 tonnes load = orange
- 10+ tonnes – not part of the colour coding chart but orange is used
Uses for this equipment
Now that you understand what makes this gear so useful, below we have looked at the two primary uses below, which account for the majority of applications for this type of equipment.
1) Lifting and lowering tasks
Starting with the most common application for webbing slings; they are extremely useful for lifting and lowering tasks. While they do have a smaller maximum lifting weight, they are particularly useful in situations when the strength of the lifting equipment isn’t such a priority.
For example, thanks to their flexible nature, webbing slings are perfect for wrapping around
- Odd-shaped loads and
- Loads with a wide bearing surface.
Wire ropes, while stronger than webbing slings, aren’t able to provide this level of flexibility. This gives slings a unique position in the lifting and lowering world.
2) Towing and pulling tasks
Webbing slings are ideal for towing tasks, helping to save time and money. They have the quality of being lightweight, flexible and easy to store, which is perfect for towing and pulling tasks.
Applications for this gear
Below we look at various applications for webbing slings. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it gives you a great indication of just how versatile this equipment is.
1) Mountain climbing
Webbing slings are actively used in mountain climbing, and are recommended by The British Mountaineering Council. Webbing slings protect the lead climber by placing it around rocks or trees or to thread holes. Slings attach other pieces of climber rope protection. Should a longer link be needed, then a longer webbing sling can be used.
Webbing slings are ideal for lifting boats safely, which is occasionally a requirement when storing a boat or docking. Specialist slings are available with extra eyes, sleeves and lead weights for helping to sink the sling.
3) Vehicle towing
Slings are perfect for towing of vehicles such as cars, lorries, diggers, trucks, caravans, horseboxes as well as trailers. When used as vehicle recovery straps they are ideal where de-bogging is necessary, i.e. vehicles stranded in mud, snow, ditches, sand, etc.
4) Fire fighting
Webbing slings find great use for firefighters with what is known as a webbing sling drag. The sling is tied around an injured person, enabling them to be pulled safely away from the scene without causing harm to the injured person or fire fighter.
5) Accessing a tree
There are many reasons that you may want to tie a webbing sling around a tree, such as mountain climbing mentioned above. Those that need to climb trees, such as tree surgeons, will often use webbing slings as their means of traversing the tree.
6) Creating a slackline
If you need to create a slack line, which is a line that runs between two points, webbing slings are often the piece of equipment of choice.
7) Pipe laying
Webbing slings are actively used in the laying of pipes. The slings are simply attached around the pipe which can then be lifted or lowered into position.
8) Relaxing hammock
Looking for a place to relax? You can tie a webbing sling around a tree or post to create a relaxing hammock! This has to be one of our favourite uses for this equipment!
Be safe when using this lifting equipment
As you can see, there is a varied list of webbing sling uses and applications, that can start with small things in your home right to industrial lifting tasks. No matter which way you use your webbing sling, it’s important that you take proper care to use them safely.
There are various guidelines that you must stick to at all times when operating webbing slings, or any other piece of lifting equipment for that matter. The most important of these is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). While this isn’t itself part of the law, it falls under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which is, of course, the law.
LOLER is the most commonly referred to set of guidelines for this industry, and by familiarising yourself with its contents, you will learn some key steps that you can take to ensure that you remain safe while using webbing slings.
All equipment will have a safe working load (SWL), which refers to the limit provided by a manufacturer to denote the limit that you should be sticking to at all times. It is much easier to identify the SWL of a webbing sling thanks to their colour; please refer to our ‘Universal colour coding chart’ above for these. Whatever you do, please never exceed this limit at any time.
There are also important storage tips that you must follow, given the nature of the material, to help prolong the life of your webbing sling. When thinking about temperatures:
- If your sling is polyester or polyamide, then it can be stored in temperatures which sit in the range of -40 and 90 degrees Celsius
- If your sling is polypropylene, then it can be stored in temperatures which sit in the range of -40 and 80 degrees Celsius
It’s important to note that if stored in an environment with moisture that is below 0 degrees Celsius, ice will form within the material of the sling itself. This can damage the sling, and will often reduce flexibility; one of the main benefits for buying this equipment. Avoid storing in this environment if possible.
If planning to store in an environment with chemicals present, the following rules apply:
- If your sling is made from polyester, then it is resistant to most acids, but offers little to no resistance against alkalis
- If your sling is made from polyamides, then it will be immune to any alkalis, but offers little resistance against acids
- If your sling is made from polypropylene, then it offers good resistance against acids and alkalis
The reason that we have laid out the above information regarding safety, storage and usage is because each of the uses and applications that we have listed throughout this article depend on you following these strict set of guidelines. With so many of the applications above concerning safety or the lives of people, it’s imperative that these rules are followed at all times.
Contacting Rope Services Direct
Webbing slings have become an absolutely crucial part to many industries around the world, and thanks to their various benefits, and the variety of ways that they can be used, there are almost a limitless number of applications for them. You can read more on the various types of lifting slings that we stock and manufacture here, including web slings, round slings and endless slings,
If you have more questions on webbing sling uses or how to safely use them and you can’t find the answers listed here, then we would be more than happy to help. Simply get in contact with one of our expert team here on 01384 78004.