I – EEC Directives
Directive 2006/42/EC provides as follows :
- For steel wire rope slings
"The safety factor of the rope and termination set is chosen to guarantee an adequate level of safety; this factor is, as a general rule, equal to 5. Ropes must not have any splices or loops other than those at their ends".
- For chain slings
"The safety factor of the chain and termination set is chosen to guarantee an adequate level of safety; this factor is, as a general rule, equal to 4".
- For textile fibre slings
"The safety factor of the textile and termination set is chosen to guarantee an adequate level of safety; this factor is, as a general rule, equal to 7".
"The safety factor of all the metal components of a sling, or used with a sling, is chosen to guarantee an adequate level of safety; this safety factor is, as a general rule, equal to 4".
II – French regulations
The decree of 1st March 2004 defines the conditions of inspection of the working equipment used for lifting loads to which the director of the establishment where this working equipment is put into service or used.
New regulations introduced in 2004 aim to explicitly define the responsibilities of the director to ensure that the conditions for a serious inspection are satisfied before an audit is carried out :
a) The director must make the lifting equipment and accessories involved and clearly identified, available to the competent persons in charge of the inspections for the time required, taking into account the expected time needed for the inspections, tests and trials to be done.
b) The director must keep at the disposal of the competent persons in charge of the inspections, tests and trials to be done the required documents, such as the manufacturer's instruction manual, the declaration or certificate of conformity, the reports of the previous inspections and the maintenance record of the device.
c) During the inspection, the director must ensure the presence of the personnel required to handle the device, as well as the entire operation and any adjustments. He must also make available to the competent persons in charge of the inspections the resources for safe access to the various parts of the device or installation and, if necessary, the supports to be checked.
d) In order to carry out the adequate test defined in Article 5-I, the director must make available on a written document to the competent person in charge of the test the necessary information relating to the work which it is planned to carry out with the lifting equipment and accessories.
e) In order to carry out the assembly and installation examination defined in Article 5-II, the director of the establishment must provide the competent person in charge of the examination with the necessary information, in particular the data relating to the ground, the nature of the supports, the ground support effects and, if necessary, the maximum wind speed to be taken into account on the site of use.
f) When the inspection involves tests or trials, the director of the establishment must provide the competent persons in charge of the tests and trials, for the time necessary for them to proceed correctly, with sufficient loads and the resources for handling these loads. The place where the tests and trials can be carried out must be secure.
g) The conditions of execution, defined in the present decree, must be fulfilled before the complete realization of the inspections, tests or trials.
h) An provisional report is issued at the end of the audit. The reports established by the competent persons in charge of the inspections are given to the director of the establishment within four weeks of the completion of the inspections, tests or trials concerned.
i) The results of the inspections are recorded, without delay, by the director of the establishment on the safety register required by Article L. 620-6 of the Labour Code.
A wire rope sling, being a piece of equipment not integrated into a machine and placed between the machine and the load, is considered as a lifting accessory.
For this reason, it is subject to the following inspections.
• Inspections during initial operation as specified by Article R233-11-1 of the Labour Code
New lifting accessories for which the person responsible for adding them on the market has checked that they are suitable for use must be subject to a suitability test.
New lifting accessories which have not been inspected for suitability for use and second-hand lifting accessories must be inspected for suitability and a static test must be carried out.
Nota 1 : "suitability inspection" means the inspection of the lifting accessory to check :
(a) if it is appropriate to the different lifting devices on which the user intends to use it and to the work to be carried out, and to the risks to which workers are exposed, (b) and that the operations planned are compatible with the conditions of use of the accessory as defined in the manufacturer's instructions t.
Nota 2 : "static test of a lifting accessory" means the test that consists in making the accessory bear the maximum working load, multiplied by the static test coefficient, without moving it, for a given period of time. The conditions of the static test, the time of the test and the test coefficient are those defined by the manufacturer's instructions or those defined by the regulations applied when designing the accessory. Otherwise, the test coefficient is equal to 1.5 and the time of the test is 15 minutes.
• Special case: Inspections when repairing a lifting accessory
Required by article R233-11-2, the inspection after disassembly and reassembly, or modification likely to compromise safety, aims to ensure the absence of any defect likely to cause dangerous situations.
The inspection requirements are a suitability inspection, an inspection of the condition and a static test as specified in Article 8.
Nota : "inspection of the conservation status" means the inspection to detect any deterioration, such as deformation, herniation, strangulation, broken strand, more than the permissible number of broken wires, damaged latch, or other limit of use specified in the manufacturer's instructions, which may be the cause of dangerous situations.
• Periodic general inspections required by Article R233-11 of the Labour Code
Lifting accessories must be subjected every twelve months to a periodic inspection comprising an examination designed to check that the lifting accessory is in a good state of preservation, and in particular to detect any deterioration, such as deformation, herniation, strangulation, broken strand, number of broken wires exceeding the permissible number, damaged latch, or other limit of use specified in the manufacturer's instructions, which may be the origin of dangerous situations.