Wire ropes are designed to be extremely strong and durable to safely lift and secure heavy items. Wire ropes are commonly used with overhead lifting and rigging equipment to hoist loads – so when things go wrong, it can be extremely dangerous.
Wire rope hazards have caused hundreds of injuries and even fatalities on construction sites. According to one report, more than 60 people were killed over 15 years due to a wire rope breaking.
When wire rope is handled or stored incorrectly, it can tremendously increase the likelihood of a safety hazard. Some of the most common safety issues with this piece of industrial equipment include broken strands, corrosion, crushed wires, or fatigue that causes the rope to slip, stretch, or snap.
At Elite Sales, we have fulfilled lots of orders for wire ropes to replace broken or damaged equipment. So, take our advice with these tips to reduce wire rope hazards through proper handling.
1. Enforce Frequent Inspections Before Use
OSHA requires that all overhead lifting and rigging equipment be carefully inspected before use. Certified crane operators are typically responsible for this task – but all workers interacting with wire ropes should know how to conduct an inspection.
First, the wire rope should be visually inspected to note any of the most common signs of wear and tear. This includes crown or valley breaks in the exterior strands or any kinks in the wire rope.
Any visible rusting, loose wires, kinking, or damaged fitting should be noted immediately. The wire rope should be replaced or repaired before it is used, as even a few broken wires could compromise its strength and durability.
Dryness or dust forming on the wire rope is an indication that hasn’t been recently lubricated. This can cause the wire rope to break far more easily, so this must be taken into consideration during the inspection as well.
2. Teach Proper Handling and Installation Methods of Wire Rope
Wire ropes are commonly damaged when they are being moved as the strands can get caught, broken, or bent. Correct wire rope installation and handling are crucial for extending the life and use of this equipment. So, all employees who handle wire ropes should receive adequate training for proper handling.
Special care should be taken when the wire rope is unreeled or uncoiled. The strands can easily get kinked or crushed during this process. The best practice is to pull the wire rope in a straight line off of the reel or mount it on a revolving stand to ensure that the rope does not look or kink.
All wire ropes should be routinely re-lubricated as well. This helps to reduce wear from friction and movement and also protects the wires from corrosion.
Additionally, all handlers should be aware of practices that can damage wire ropes and avoid them at all costs. For instance, battening down the wire rope sling to secure it can crush and break the strands. This is unfortunately a fairly common practice on construction sites – so supervisors should strictly enforce correct handling.
Wire rope can get damaged during storage, too. All wire ropes must be completely dried and stored in a cool, temperature-controlled space. It is also best to avoid stacked coiled wire rope directly on the ground and instead stack it on cement or metal.
3. Purchase Top-Quality, Long-Lasting Materials
As an industrial hardware supplier, we understand that it is not just the way that these materials are handled – but also the quality of the equipment that lowers safety risk. Cheap wire rope will rust or wear down quickly, which increases the likelihood of it breaking.
First, be sure that you only purchase wire rope made with improved plow steel (IPS), extra improved plow steel (EIPS), or even extra-extra improved plow steel (EEIPS). This means that the wire rope is made of stronger steel than mild plow steel (MPS).
You should always double-check that you are using the correct wire rope for your application. There are many different styles, constructions, and patterns available which are optimized for certain uses.
For example, some are designed to be rotation resistant which is best for overhead lifting. The central core of the wire rope is also an important factor to consider. A fiber core is best for applications where elasticity and stretch are needed – but it is not ideal for high heat or heavy loads. Wire strand cores on the other hand are best when additional stability is needed for securement.
Working with a trusted and experienced industrial wire rope supplier can be extremely beneficial here. Not only will this give you access to a wide range of wire rope options, but you can receive advice and guidance from professionals.
Here at Elite Sales, we’ve worked with construction companies and industrial manufacturers for years to provide top-rated equipment. We carry a great selection of wire rope in many styles, lengths, diameters, and constructions to meet nearly all applications. Plus, our team of experts is just a phone call away.
Reducing the risk of wire rope hazards on the job site needs to be a top priority. Any mistakes with wire rope installation, transportation, or storage can lead to major safety issues. One of the easiest ways to do this is enforcing proper handling of top-quality wire rope equipment throughout the organization.
If you are looking to purchase high-quality wire rope for your business, be sure to check out our selection. Elite Sales is proud to carry top-rated industrial hardware. Our team is available to answer any questions and direct you to the exact types you need for any application.
You can contact the sales team at Elite Sales by leaving us a message online or calling our headquarters at 1-800-458-6659.