Working Load Limits of Chain

Grade 70 transport chain from US Cargo ControlWhether you transport machinery, use tow chains, or are in the logging industry, it’s important to know the working load limits of chain you are using. Chains have a working load limit- or WLL- of approximately one third of their break strengths (the amount of force the chains can withstand before they break).

How to determine a chain’s working load limit

The WLL of a chain is determined by both the grade and the diameter. Chain is embossed with both the grade and size so you can determine its WLL using this chart.

new chart

 

Types of chain

Grade 30 Chain

Grade 30 is a multipurpose, economical chain. Also known as Grade 30 Proof Coil Chain, it’s used in a variety of industries and jobs, including light construction, barrier chains, and in the marine industry. It is not safe for overhead lifting. Grade 30 chain is embossed using a 3, 30, or 300.

Grade 43 Chain

Also called Grade 43 High Test Chain  or Grade 43 Tow Chain, this is common in the towing and logging industries. It is not rated safe for overhead lifting. Grade 43 chain is embossed using a 43 or a G4.shutterstock_2337463

Grade 70 Chain

Grade 70 Transport Chain is also called Grade 70 Truckers Chain as it’s common in securing loads for over-the-road hauling. It is not rated safe for overhead lifting. Grade 70 chain is embossed using a 7, 70, or 700.

Grade 80 Chain

Grade 80 Alloy Chain is heat-treated making it safe and rated for overhead lifting. It’s also commonly used as a heavy duty tow chain. Grade 80 chain is embossed using an 8, 80, or 800.

Grade 100 Chain

Considered premium quality chain, it offers about a 25% higher work load limit over Grade 80 chain. It is safe for overhead lifting. Grade 100 chains are embossed with a 10 or 100.

Grade 120 Chain

A newer product in the market, Grade 120 chain is up to 50% stronger than Grade 80 chain and 20% stronger than Grade 100 chain. It’s also more resistant to abrasion than both Grade 80 and Grade 100 chains. It’s safe  for overhead lifts.

LEARN MORE: 

Learn more about the differences between grades 70, 80 and 100 here: What are the Differences Between Grade 70 Chain, Grade 80 Chain, and Grade 100 Chain?

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Aggregate Working Load Limits

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith such a wide range of strength and length in commercial tie downs, it’s important to determine the aggregate working load limit of the equipment you choose before you attempt to haul your cargo.

What does aggregate working load limit mean?

Working load limits determine how much weight or force tiedowns and other securing devices can secure without breaking. The aggregate working load limit is the sum of the working load limits for each device you use to secure your load. To meet safety requirements, the aggregate working load limit of the devices you use must be at least 50% of the total weight of all the pieces of cargo you are hauling.

shutterstock_1131225How do you determine aggregate working load limits?

You can figure out the aggregate working load limit of your securing devices by adding together:

  • 50% of the working load limit of each tiedown that is attached to an anchor point on your vehicle, and
  • 50% of the working load limit of each tiedown that is attached to your vehicle and goes over, around or through your cargo.

The sum equals your aggregate working load limit. It’s important to properly figure your aggregate working load limit and use the necessary amount of tiedowns for every load you haul. If you don’t, you risk being cited by the DOT or losing your cargo on the road, which could lead to serious injury to you or to another motorist.

What is a USDOT Number?

shutterstock_13801870A USDOT number is an identifier that is unique to your company. It allows quick access to your company’s safety information. This information is gathered during accident investigations, inspections, audits and compliance reviews.

Commercial vehicles used by your company to transport passengers or haul cargo in interstate commerce, must have the company’s USDOT number displayed on every commercial company vehicle. Companies that transport hazardous materials within the state in amounts that require safety permits must also display the company’s USDOT number on the vehicles used for transport.

Do I Need a USDOT Number?

These guidelines will help you determine if your company needs a USDOT number. You need a USDOT number if your vehicle is involved in interstate commerce (trade or transportation in the United States) and also meets one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Your vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more. The measurement includes gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight, whichever is greatest.
  • Your vehicle is designed to carry 8 passengers for payment (this number includes the driver).
  • Your vehicle is used to carry more than 15 passengers (including the driver), but is not used to carry passengers for payment.
  • Your vehicle is used to transport materials deemed by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous, and in a quantity that requires a safety permit.shutterstock_176701853

Where your vehicle transports goods or passengers is also an indicator of whether you need a USDOT number.  You need a number if your vehicle is used for trade or transport in one or more of these ways:

  • Between states (this includes places outside of the United States)
  • Between two places in one state through another state, or through a place outside of the United States
  • Between two places in one state as part of traffic, transportation or trade that begins or ends in a place outside the state or the United States.

Certain states require a USDOT number for all commercial vehicles aside from the specifications listed above. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Remember, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires you to obtain a USDOT number and comply with all federal regulations. No matter how many commercial vehicles are in your company’s fleet, you only need one USDOT number. The number is required to be displayed on every commercial vehicle your company operates in accordance with the specifications above.

For more information on what forms are needed to obtain a USDOT number, visit the What Do I Need to File? page on the FMCSA website.

New Hazmat Regulation: Drive Smart and Safe

CaptureWhenever a new hazmat rule is rolled out there’s no question that you want to make sure you’re fully up to date and in compliance.  “I didn’t know about the new rule,” isn’t an excuse that’s going to buy you a lot of leeway.  So when a new hazmat regulation came out starting on October 25, plenty of people took notice.  The language reads:

“Drivers hauling hazmat may no longer cross a highway-rail grade crossing unless there is sufficient space to drive completely through without stopping.

This rule was made in collaboration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The rule change had been considered since 2011, but it was only recently that this regulation was put into effect for haulers of various toxins, hazardous materials, and other similar agents.

A need for signage

While both the National Tank Truck Carriers and American Trucking Associations prefer that appropriate signs should be added to the 21,000+ railroad crossings across the country where it’s not possible for a driver to pass through completely without stopping, the PHMSA and the FMCSA have stated that they do not have the authority for such a mandate.

The concerns have been heard

There’s been some grumbling that it’s not always easy to know ahead of time when a route is appropriate or not and that certain routes might not have appropriate detour routes especially in extremely industrial or port areas.  The good news is that officials recognize that these issues can happen and they even suggest that enforcement of the rules shouldn’t be iron clad 100% of the time, but should be enforced at discretion based on the circumstances.

Photo source: iTunes.com
Photo source: iTunes.apple.com

Technology can help

Another effort to help hazmat drivers obey the new rule comes in the form of a free mobile app that can be used by any iPhone or iPad.  The Federal Railroad Administration created the Rail Crossing Locator app to help provide hazmat-friendly routes to drivers, as well as a clear understanding of the grade crossings that were known. The app can locate crossings by Crossing ID, address, or geo-location. Crossings can also be identified by special characteristics. Users can also check accident history for each crossing.