News, Safety

Register your comments regarding Fibre Rope Standards

The Australian Lifting and Rigging Industry is being urged to register its comments regarding a proposed draft to the Australian standard for textile slings. The attached image simplifies the process of lodging comments.

There is a draft Australian standard for “Textile slings for general purpose lifting operations made from fibre ropes – High modulus polyethylene (HMPE)” currently open for public comment. The new standard AS18264 which is to replace AS13180.1:1999 Fibre rope slings, is essentially an adoption of the ISO standard ISO:18264 except for some small changes. (Public comments close 30/12/2021).

https://comment.standards.org.au/Drafts/b2994da3-d8d6-48cd-b5fd-31a477ed5b8b

The Lifting Industry wants to see every worker safe, and there is a belief that a number of changes are required to the standard to ensure that this happens. Currently the design factor (safety factor) for synthetic round slings (as per AS4497:2018) is 7:1, this means that a 1 tonne sling has a minimum breaking strength of 7 tonnes. This design factor helps to ensure that in the event of overload, shock-load, and even minor damage, that the load will not be released.

The proposed design factor for this standard has been lowered to 5:1, and this has been based on the HMPE having the same characteristics as wire rope (AS1666). Whilst HMPE may have similar tensile properties and elongation characteristics as wire rope, it does not have similar abrasion or cut resistance. The original ISO standard shows the European Union as having 7:1, so why should we adopt this lower factor?

Also, when a synthetic round sling (AS4497:2018) or a synthetic flat sling AS1353.1:1997 are manufactured, manufacturers are obliged to proof test the sling to ensure that it is fit for purpose and manufactured correctly. In section 7.4.3.1 Proof Test of the draft standard, states Unless specified by the purchaser, sling constructions are not required to be proof tested prior to their initial use if all components of the sling are new. Why again are we settling for less and possibly endangering our workforce?

A fibre rope slings strength is from a combination of the rope strength and also the splice / splices. In section 6.2.1 Splicing the draft standard talks about the splicer being trained and competent and that the splice be carried out in accordance with the splicing instructions provided by the manufacturer, its authorized representative, or a competent person. Samples of these splices shall have been previously created in accordance with the application requirements and successfully verified by testing in accordance with clause 7. Clause 7 states in section 7.2 that All testing and examination shall be carried out by a competent person. In other Australian standards AS4497:2018, AS3775:2014 state; Competency standards and procedures relating to the role and duties of competent persons shall include the requirements of this Standard. They shall incorporate an established competency-based training course. Documentation of competency standards and procedures shall be maintained.

In AS4497:2018 the round sling standard, a competent person shall be tested for Visual Acuity, so they can see faults. Further the standard states; “Person’s manufacturing, testing and using round slings shall be competent persons for the tasks they are performing, including being competent to detect and evaluate defects and weaknesses that may affect the intended performance of the round slings. The draft standard does not include these requirements.

Industry is urging interested parties to comment on the draft by visiting Standards Australia’s website and commenting on the appropriate sections of the standard.

https://comment.standards.org.au/Drafts/b2994da3-d8d6-48cd-b5fd-31a477ed5b8b

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