7 Tips for Choosing the Right Chain Sling for Your Workplace


Chain slings are integral to maintaining strength and safety when performing industrial lifts and moving large, heavy objects in a commercial setting. These types of tasks are common in many industries, though the requirements and conditions of each lift are different between the transport, engineering, construction, mining and agricultural sectors. This is why it's important to understand what chain sling to use for particular lifts, and which will best meet your requirements.

Sling chains have a flexible design which means they can lift very bulky and heavy objects regularly, with strength and durability to withstand any impact felt during the lift operation. They provide the ultimate safety as well as convenience for operators moving items around in different commercial settings.

Industrial & Automotive Parts stock different types of lifting slings and chain slings, each fully compliant to Australian safety and products standards, because our clients are in different industries and require various options. To help you evaluate your needs for your operation or workplace, consider these seven tips for choosing sling types below.

7 Tips for Choosing Sling Chains

1. Identify the application load

It’s imperative to understand the intended load weight of your lift when selecting an appropriate chain sling, as the sling will need to be included in the lift plan. You can first determine the maximum working load of the object to be moved as well as its length, the number of lifting points and the lifting point angles. From here you can understand how much load the sling will handle and each localised lifting point, which will provide a better understanding of which sling to choose by assessing their individual load capacities.

2. Evaluate your headroom

Understanding the physical space available in your lift is essential to planning and executing a safe lift. Headroom refers to the distance between the object to be lifted and the crane’s hook lifting the load. When you have ample headroom, you have more freedom to select your preferred or more suitable chain sling as you can then move the hook to accommodate the length of the chain.

When you have smaller headroom for your lift, you may need to opt for shorter slings and grab hooks so there isn’t excess chain length, and your lift has optimised tension. You can also choose to include lifting beams in this situation to assist your lift.

3. Consider the load type

The characteristics of the load and its contents can influence the type of chain sling required for your lifting operation. Consider traits like your load’s fragility, temperature conditions, resistance capacity and the conditions of the object surface to gain a more comprehensive understanding of lift requirements. If your items are at a high temperature, then you should avoid plastic and polyester slings to avoid the material failing.

Items with abrasive or rough surfaces are best suited to chain and wire rope slings as these are resistant to abrasion wear. Where slings may encounter abrasion damage from hitching and slinging, polyester slings are the recommended choice. Try to evaluate any load characteristics that may provide restrictions to your sling to help you determine the right choice for each lift.

4. Consider your workplace environment

In industrial and commercial settings, lift conditions can vary broadly from one workplace to another and even in one individual company. It’s important to consider any adverse or restrictive workplace conditions that could affect your lift and the materials of the sling. Consider the amount of storage space, how large your lifting area is and the physical conditions of your workspace.

In wet environments, most chain slings are a great choice because they provide excellent grip and don't absorb water. In busy workplace environments or mining and industrial settings where lifting loads are heavy, chains with a high grade are preferred because you can lift more weight with smaller and less bulky slings, helping you maintain a tidy workplace.

5. Learn the chain grades

If you followed tip number one, you’ll know the intended load of your application, which can then help you align the sling with a matching grade. The most common grades for lifting slings are 80, 100 and 120, each with its own breaking threshold. Grades represent the chain’s strength per volume of material – so you could lift a 1,000kg load with a 20cm, 80-grade chain, but the sling may be too large and bulky and reduce the safety of the lift. You could lift the same load with a smaller 100-grade chain or an even smaller 120-grade chain because their strength increases respectively.

It might be tempting to always select a grade 120 chain, but they can be less cost-effective, and sometimes a bulkier and larger sling can help in positioning the load efficiently. Understanding these grades and the specific grades of each sling will help you determine the most suitable chain for your lifting application.

6. Understand the different types of slings and their components

Chain slings are built with different designs to accommodate various types of lifts, objects, loads and movements. As well as chain grades, each sling has slightly different components that require different installation to secure loads. Standard lifts typically require a master link or multi link, chain connector, chain and bottom hook to provide all the tools to manage a safe and efficient operation.

When your lift involves more than two sling legs, a larger Master link or multi link is most suitable, while a grab hook is ideal for lifts where control is a priority as it limits bends and twists in the chain. If you’re working in a tight space without extra room, a sling hook offers the largest throat opening so you can conveniently remove loads with limited access.

7. Opt for quality requirements

When procuring the chain slings your company will use to manage dangerous and heavy-duty lifts at your workplace, there’s no room for poor quality equipment. Ensure you source chain slings that meet the Australian Standard and have been designed to fulfil your load lifting needs.

Typically, premium slings are built with heavy-duty alloys making up their chain and metal components. Industrial & Automotive Parts supply commercial parts to businesses across Australia, so we only stock high-tensile roller chain that have been manufactured to meet Australian regulations. Our clients can immediately use any of our equipment such as FRAS belt, 3 phase motors, marine bearing kit which always has up-to-date test certificates without questioning the quality of their lifting slings. Contact us for more information on our selection today.