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Lifting Slings / Strops

In the realm of UK lifting operations, especially within the lorry loader and truck-mounted crane industry, the correct use of lifting slings or strops is paramount for safety and efficiency. If you were operating as an appointed person or hiab crane operator, you’ll no doubt have come to appreciate the critical role these tools play in daily operations, and we’d like to share some insights on how these lifting accessories are utilised and regulated.

What Are Lifting Slings / Strops?

Lifting slings / strops are made from high-strength materials like polyester and are designed to handle heavy loads during lifting operations – they can be flat or endless slings and their widths are flexible. They are commonly used in conjunction with cranes, including hiab / lorry loader cranes, to secure and lift diverse types of goods, ranging from construction materials. heavy machinery, cabins, containers and boats etc..

Colour Coding System for Lifting Slings / Strops

One of the key features of lifting slings / strops is the colour coding system, which indicates the safe working load limit of each strap. This system is not just a matter of convenience but a crucial safety measure. Here’s a breakdown of what each colour typically represents:

  • Purple: Up to 1 tonne
  • Green: Up to 2 tonnes
  • Yellow: Up to 3 tonnes
  • Grey: Up to 4 tonnes
  • Red: Up to 5 tonnes
  • Brown: Up to 6 tonnes
  • Blue: Up to 8 tonnes
  • Orange: 10 tonnes and above

Each colour corresponds to a specific weight capacity, which helps operators quickly select the appropriate strap for the load, ensuring safety and preventing accidents due to overloading.

Why Use Lifting Slings / Strops?

The advantages of using slings or strops are many. Firstly, their flexibility and strength allow for the secure handling of loads with odd shapes or delicate surfaces. They are also relatively lightweight and easy to handle, which reduces fatigue and increases efficiency on the job site.

Moreover, they are designed to distribute the weight of the load evenly, minimising the risk of damage to the material being lifted. This is particularly important in industries where the integrity of the load is critical, for example glass or machinery with external components.

Maintenance and Safety Checks

To maintain the integrity and safety of lifting equipment, regular inspections are essential. Before any lifting operation, it is the responsibility of the appointed person, slinger signaller, and operators to check for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. Any strop or sling showing signs of deterioration should be removed from service immediately to undergo further inspection or replacement.

Regulatory Compliance

In the UK, all lifting operations must comply with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). These regulations mandate that all lifting equipment must be fit for purpose, appropriately maintained, and subject to thorough examination. Compliance not only ensures the safety of operations but also upholds legal standards, protecting businesses from potential liabilities.  Slings / Strops along with lifting chains are all to be inspected regularly, replaced if damaged, and we also advocate them being replaced if they are dirty enough to potentially be mistaken in their colours (although for obvious reasons the colour isn’t the only distinguishing mark, they are also labelled or marked).


Lifting slings / strops are indispensable tools in the lifting industry. Their proper use and maintenance are key to conducting safe and efficient operations. By adhering to the colour coding system and maintaining strict compliance with LOLER, operators can help ensure that lifting tasks are performed safely and effectively.

For operators and businesses in the lifting industry, understanding and implementing these guidelines is not just a matter of regulatory compliance, but a cornerstone of operational excellence. Remember, safety and efficiency go hand-in-hand, and with the right knowledge and tools, we can achieve both.

To discuss your lifting requirements please get in touch with our team today

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