Jacksonville, FL Office:
Orlando, FL Office:
Tampa, FL Office:

The Dangers of Using Damaged Web Slings & How to Avoid Them

Wearing degraded slings is one of the most hazardous things you can do on the job site, for you and for your colleagues. This is why OSHA is so adamant about properly checking each piece of equipment before using it.

Is this your first time using a web sling, or are you just curious about a specific apparition on your web sling and wondering if it’s hazardous? Read on to learn about the dangers of using damaged web slings and what to do about them.

Surface & Edge Cuts / Broken Fibers

Most web slings are just synthetic mesh interwoven with each other, and just like any other mesh, they are prone to cuts and breakage. This usually occurs whenever we snag the slings on something or rub them against a sharp edge.

To avoid this kind of damage, it’s advised to use some kind of protective padding and be particularly careful when working around areas with many sharp corners and edges.

Holes / Punctures

Holes occur whenever you snag your web sling on a piercing object like a nail. This damage usually appears as a protrusion of the mesh fibers. Whenever this damage occurs, it effectively becomes a weak point in the sling, which can lead to further damage.

To prevent this, it’s advised to be particularly careful when transporting objects, especially those with many protruding hazards, like nails. This is especially true if you work with blades or other similarly sharp objects.

Chafing / Abrasions

Abrasions usually appear in areas that have experienced heavier operational loads or have been dragged along on a rugged surface for too long. This damage makes the affected areas look “fuzzy” in appearance.

It looks fuzzy because the strings connecting the sling have been broken and protruded in the thousands. Under no circumstance should you use these sorts of slings for any work.

Worn or Broken Stitching

If subjected to extreme loads or other unfavorable conditions, the stitching of the sling might loosen or detach completely. This sort of damage usually occurs at either end of the web sling but might also occur somewhere along the middle of it. There’s a connective part present there.

Repairing this sort of damage yourself with a sewing kit is unadvised, as you’ll likely not be able to restore it to its original condition. What’s more, the bearing weight of such a sling is significantly reduced, which increases the chance of the sling snapping the next time you use it.


Knots are particularly nasty because they form a chokepoint that prevents the fibers from pulling the weight effectively. This, in turn, reduces the sling’s strength by an unknown amount, making it a hazard to operate.

Avoid tying your web sling into a knot to prevent knots from forming. If you notice a knot forming, immediately correct the issue. Putting weight on a knotted sling will only tighten the knot and make the sling unusable for future reference.

Burn / Chemical Damage

This damage usually occurs when using nylon or polyester web slings. It usually appears as a “hardening” of the affected area, but not necessarily. It can either fuse the fibers together or completely burn them off, depending on the situation in which it formed.

It’s best to use web slings that aren’t made out of materials that have a low heat threshold to avoid this kind of damage.

Worn or Missing Tags

Each sling should come with a tag detailing its capabilities and manufacturer. If your sling is missing this tag or it’s been worn out completely, then you should procure a newer web sling instead.

Operating unmarked web slings is a hazard because you can’t be exactly sure about how much weight they can bear. What’s more, without a manufacturer tag, you won’t be able to trace who’s responsible if a break occurs.

Embedded Foreign Particles

Foreign particles such as dust, wood chippings, and metal residue can embed themselves in your sling and cause it to lose its original durability. An even more harmful substance is oil, which can also embed itself in your sling and make it a potential fire hazard.

Be extremely careful when working in dirty areas or areas with a lot of clutter. Make sure to regularly clean and maintain your sling, and it should keep its original consistency just fine.

How to Address the Dangers of Using Damaged Web Slings

These are some of the dangers of using damaged web slings and how to recognize the warning signs. If you notice any of the warning signs, act immediately!

Contact Southeast Rigging for replacements right away. We offer various web slings and their respective attachments. Being proactive in these matters is the only way to prevent a hazard from occurring. 

© 2024 Southeast Rigging Inc. All rights reserved.