How to Tell When It’s Time for New Rigging Gear

Whether you’re inspecting wire rope, chain slings, synthetic web slings, round slings, or any type of rigging hardware, here are the warning signs of potential rigging equipment failure.

rigging gear inspection checklist

Stay safe and compliant with these rigging gear inspection tips.

The best way to tell if it’s time to upgrade your rigging and lifting gear starts with regular inspections, ideally before and after each use. When you’re trying to get a job done, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of inspecting your gear. But, compared to the alternatives options of either failing an official inspection or having your gear fail while in use, regular rigging gear inspection is well worth it.

So, whether you’re using wire rope, chain slings, synthetic web slings, round slings, or any type of rigging hardware, here are the warning signs to look for when inspecting your rigging gear.

Wire Rope Inspection

inspection checklist for wire rope

Wire rope is often combined with wire rope clips and thimbles and also used in wire rope slings that are great for a variety of lifts. It’s also commonly used on specialty vehicles, like tow trucks, as a winch line. Between load stress, environmental conditions, and abrasion, there are many factors that can shorten the life of wire rope.

Regularly inspect your wire rope and discard it if any of the following is evident:

  • Excessive broken wire
  • Distortion or kinking
  • Severe corrosion
  • Shiny worn spots on the outside of the rope
  • A one-third reduction in the outer wire diameter
  • Damaged or displaced hooks, link, rings, or other end fittings

Chain Sling Inspection

inspection checklist for chain slings

Yes, even the strongest chain slings, like a mighty grade 120 chain sling, can become overly stressed and eventually unsafe to continue using. Heat, chemicals, and heavy loads all take a toll on a chain slings longevity.

If you notice any of the following on your chain slings, cut them up into 3′ to 4′ lengths (to prevent salvaging) and then recycle them:

  • Stretched or overly-elongated links
  • Kinks or binding
  • Nicks or gouges in links

Synthetic Web Sling Inspection

inspection checklist for synthetic web slings

The softness and flexibility of polyester and nylon lifting slings make them great for lifting fragile or expensive cargo. But just because they’re lifting delicately, doesn’t mean that can’t become worn out and dangerous to use.

Discontinue use and cut the sling into 3′ to 4′ lengths (and cut the eye) if you notice any of the following:

  • Snags, tears, or cuts
  • Melting or charring of any surface area
  • Acid or caustic burns
  • Broken or worn stitching
  • Elongation that exceeds manufacturer’s recommendation
  • Distortion of any fittings

Polyester Round Sling Inspection

inspection checklist for polyester round slings

Round slings are a versatile, strong, and cost-efficient tool for lifting a variety of cargo types. Polyester round slings contain a continuous loop of polyester yarn inside and a durable polyester fabric on the outside that is usually color-coded by lifting capacity.

While round slings are able to handle large loads, even the smallest rip, cut, or tear is enough to make it unsafe for use. If you notice these issues during inspection, cut the sling in half to retire it from service:

  • Exposure of the yarn core or broken or damaged yarn
  • Heat damage
  • Discolored, brittle, or stiff areas
  • Acid or caustic burns

Rigging Hardware Inspection

inspection checklist for rigging hardware

Common pieces of rigging hardware used for lifts include: shackles, turnbuckles, hooks, links and swivels, rings, wire rope clips, and thimbles. The integrity of these smaller items is vital to rigging safety.

Prior to using rigging hardware, visually inspect each piece and discontinue use if you notice the following:

  • Excessive nicks, gouges, or corrosion
  • Bent, twisted, elongated, or cracked load-bearing components
  • Reduction in original dimension by 10% or more
  • Indication of heat damage
  • Missing or illegible load rating information

Purchase Smart, Use With Confidence

If any of the above signs are evident during your routine inspection, it’s likely time to replace your rigging gear. Similar to knowing your rigging inspection checklist, it’s helpful to learn what to look for when buying rigging and lifting gear so you can always ensure that you’re using the best equipment for the job, and enjoy years of safe use.

For official rigging equipment inspection requirements see OSHA section 1926.251.

New Product Alert: Rollup Ratchet

This self-contained ratchet strap is your solution to loose strap ends

rollup ratchet straps for safe cargo transport

A common problem for ratchet strap users is figuring out what to do with all the excess strap webbing once the straps are secure. And storing ratchet straps in a neat and organized way can be equally as difficult.

But the problem is bigger than just tangled straps and the annoyance of hearing strap ends flapping in the wind as they become prematurely worn down. Loose ratchet strap tails pose a serious danger to everyone on the road as they can get caught under tires and quickly cause an accident.

There have been many interesting attempts to solve the ratchet strap loose end problem including tying the ends into complicated knots, duct taping or zip-tying them, and even closing strap ends in the door of a vehicle.

wrong way to deal with excess strap webbing
Stop knotting up excess strap webbing

But none of these temporary fixes have the same intelligent design or long-term efficiency as USCC’s patented Rollup Ratchet – the best solution to ratchet strap loose ends.

How to Use Self-Contained Ratchet Straps

  1. Feed your strap through the ratchet mandrill just as you would with any ratchet.
  2. Ratchet your cargo down until secure, then feed the excess webbing tail through the patented spindle slot.
  3. Spin the attached knob to neatly roll up all the loose webbing. Twist the knob towards you to lock in place.

Why Buy Rollup Ratchet?

The Rollup Ratchet is the best self-contained ratchet strap available today.

1. Quality Construction

Our Rollup Ratchet is professionally manufactured and designed to meet or exceed all DOT & CVSA regulations. The neon yellow polyester webbing is easy to spot and is abrasion and UV resistant.

2. Added Safety Factor

Our patented rolling spindle and sturdy ratchet assembly give you peace of mind knowing your straps aren’t going near other vehicle’s tires or getting worn down from flapping in the wind as you go down the roadway.

3. 100-Day Guarantee

Buy with confidence. If for any reason you aren’t totally satisfied with the Rollup Ratchet, you can return it for a refund.

Rollup Ratchet Strap Options

US Cargo Control has both 1-inch and 2-inch self contained ratchet straps in various lengths and three different end fitting options.

1-Inch Roll Up Ratchet Straps

1-inch wide self-contained straps are great for securing light cargo and are commonly used in pickup truck beds, small trailers, and cargo racks.

These 1-inch straps are available in two different lengths: 10-foot and 16-foot. Both come with vinyl-coated S-hooks on each end and have a working load limit of 833 pounds. Perfect for hauling ATVs, dirt bikes, lawnmowers, and more.

1 inch self contained ratchet strap
1″ Rollup Ratchet w/ S-Hooks

2-Inch Roll Up Ratchet Straps

With higher working load limit, longer strap lengths, and different end-fittings, 2-inch self-contained straps provide you with more options when it comes to what you can haul and how you haul it.

2 inch self contained ratchet strap
Rollup Ratchet w/ Flat Hooks
best self contained ratchet strap
Rollup Ratchet w/ Wire Hooks

Our 2-inch straps are available with 18-foot webbing and 27-foot webbing. Both lengths can be purchased with either flat hook end fittings or double j-hook (wire hook) end fittings. With a 3,333-pound working load limit, these straps can safely secure some serious cargo and you’ll never have to worry about excess strap webbing getting in the way of your haul.

Shop Rollup Ratchet Straps> 

Differences Between Winch Bars: Standard, Combination, & Ergo 360

This post will help you understand the options you have when it comes to buying winch bars and help you decide which type you should add to your collection of flatbed gear.

Which type of flatbed winch bar is best for you?

If your truck has winch straps, a winch bar is an invaluable tool you can’t go without. With a bit of muscle, winch bars give you the necessary leverage needed to securely tie your loads down and easily release them when it’s time to unload. Some winch bars can even release lever binders.

With all the different winch bar options available today, how do you know which type is the smartest choice for you? This post will help you understand the options you have when it comes to buying winch bars and help you decide which type you should add to your collection of flatbed gear.

Standard Winch Bars

Standard winch bars are the obvious choice for someone who only uses synthetic web winches. These straightforward bars have a standard mushroom tip that slides right into all standard web winches. They also have a knurled handle for non-slip grip.

US Cargo Control sells standard winch bars with a black paint finish or a chrome finish. Chrome provides a bit of rust resistance and many prefer the look of chrome over the black.

Combination Winch Bars

Combination winch bars, or combo bars, take it a step further with their ability to not only tighten and release synthetic winch straps but also release lever chain binders.

There are two styles of combination winch bars: standard combination bars and square head combination bars. The square head provides an added safety factor, as the tension on lever binders can create some serious kickback. Unlike standard combination winch bars with a hollow end that slides over the lever, square head winch bars have a slight pivot point that reduces the potential force if your bar were to recoil back at you.

No matter what type of bar you have, always try to stand to one side of the winch bar when you are releasing tension on a lever binder.

Ergo Winch Bars

If you’re looking for a winch bar that’s easy on your back and neck, the Ergo 360 winch bar is a perfect choice. It’s available in the same three styles (standard, combo, and combo with square head) but its unique bent shape means the bar handle and tip stay parallel to each other for maximum leverage. And unlike any other winch bar, Ergo bars can rotate 360-degrees so you won’t have to use low (and uncomfortable) angles when tightening the winch straps.

If that’s not enough for you, the Ergo bar is also heat treated for added strength and durability.

More Flatbed Winch Accessories

Ratcheting Winch Cap

Want even more convenience? Ratcheting winch bars are a popular way to tighten winch straps because they allow you to continuously tighten without removing the bar from the winch cap. This saves you both time and energy.

Now, with our universal ratcheting winch cap, you can easily turn any winch bar into a ratcheting winch bar.

ratcheting winch cap for fast securement

This weather-tight cap fits on weld-on winches, bolt-on winches, and slide-on winches, so you can’t go wrong with it. Simply slide the ratcheting winch cap onto the standard winch cap, spin it in place, and secure with the provided bolt.

Strap Winder

Tired of wasting time winding up straps only to make a mess of it? Attach a strap winder to the side rails on your flatbed so you can keep your excess winch strap neat and secure. Adam shows how it works in the video below.

2 Important Association Events Happening this February

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and two upcoming industry events are positioned to prove just that. Gear up with USCC as we visit NATE UNITE & SC&RA Symposium 2019

Information on NATE UNITE and SC&RA Symposium 2019 (plus how to get live updates)

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and two upcoming industry events are positioned to prove just that.

Gear up with USCC team members Lacy, Josh, and Alex as they visit the Lone Star State for the already in progress NATE UNITE Conference and Tim, Adam, Alex, and Ben as they get ready for the upcoming Specialized Transportation Symposium in Houston.

NATE UNITE 2019: February 4th – 7th

NATE UNITE 2019 details and information

NATE UNITE is one of the biggest and best conferences/trade shows in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries. On top of the massive exhibit hall with over a hundred exhibitors, there will networking opportunities, educational sessions, and speakers.

Anyone that’s a fan of the show Duck Commander will be excited to know that the keynote speaker is none other than Willie Robertson. Willie will be talking about his passion for the outdoors and his experiences in leading and growing his various companies.

Other notable topics covered in some of the 21 different educational sessions include:

Determining Rigging Forces

State of Wireless Industry from the Wall Street View

Dropped Loads – A Serious Epidemic

Challenges Faced by Industry Veterans

Women: Powering the Tower Industry

What to Expect When OSHA Shows Up

Check out the event links below for a complete list of sessions and more details on NATE UNITE 2019.

Keep up with USCC

 NATE UNITE 2019 team
Lacy, Alex, & Josh

Our rigging and lifting equipment experts will be at booth 727. Stop by, say hi, and enter to win Omaha Steaks, a Home Depot Gift Card, or an Amazon Fire Tablet!

Follow USCC on Facebook to keep up with our giveaway and to get our inside look at NATE UNITE 2019.

Helpful Event Links

Pre Show Planner

Schedule

Exhibit Hall Map

Specialized Transporation Symposium 2019:

February 19th – 22nd

2019 Specialized Transportation Symposium details and information

The 2019 Specialized Transportation Symposium will bring together top managers in operations, safety directors, pilot car professionals, permitting officials, law enforcement, and many others who deal with the professional transportation of oversize/overweight cargo.

The main goal is to ensure that permitting runs smoothly, safety concerns are addressed, and the most pressing topics in specialized transportation are discussed. The SC&RA is also planning on unveiling its groundbreaking proposal for 100 percent uniform permit weight analysis and allowance.

In addition to an exhibit center with a record-high 60 booths, there will be education sessions and expert speakers from within the industry.

Former Navy SEAL and Co-Star of American Sniper, Kevin “Dauber” Lacz will kick off the 2019 symposium by speaking on “the pitfalls of becoming too comfortable in any situation and the characteristics of the most successful individuals.”

Keep up with USCC

Our very own, Adam Shouse, was just selected to serve on the SC&RA Symposium Leadership Forum, an honor that just 15 people in the world were given. The SC&RA selects the most outstanding up-and-coming leaders in the Transportation and Rigging Industries to serve on this forum.

Ben Rechkemmer

Adam, Tim, Ben, and Alex will all be at the US Cargo Control exhibit booth in Houston. Stop by and say hello!

Follow USCC on Facebook to keep up with our booth giveaway and to get our inside look at the Specialized Transportation Symposium.

Helpful Event Links

Why You Should Attend (and how to convince your boss)

Schedule

Exhibit Hall Map

Official Event App

Don’t forget to stay connected with USCC on social media. We have many more exciting association events and trade shows coming in 2019. Stay tuned!

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