How to Use Lifting Slings

Updated February 21, 2017

Lifting slings are used to lift loads with a crane. A lifting sling can be used as a basket, choker or straight connection. The eye loops of the lifting sling are connected to the body of the sling and, in many situations, the lifting sling is paired with metal shackles to allow you to connect the sling to lifting lugs fastened to the load or to the crane hook. Improper use of a lifting sling can result in serious injury or death to anyone in the area of the crane lift.

Inspect the lifting slings to ensure that they are in good condition. If you notice any signs of wear or damage to the lifting sling, remove the sling from service. Retrieve additional lifting slings to replace any damaged or worn slings. Read the lifting capacity label to ensure that the loads to be lifted to not exceed the lifting sling's maximum capacity.

Slide one end of the lifting sling under the centre of the material being lifted. Pull the end that you slid under the load up toward you. Hold one looped end of the lifting sling in each hand. Slide the loop located in your right hand (Loop A) through the loop in your left hand (Loop B). Grab Loop A with your right hand and pull toward you. Loop B will slide down against the load to be lifted, chocking the load. Attach Loop A to the crane hook. Signal the crane to lift the load. Check the load for level. If the load is level, send the load. An off-level load will tip. If the load tips, readjust the strap to lift the load level.

Attach the one loop end of four equal-length lifting slings to the crane hook. Place a shackle on the other end of each lifting sling. Make sure that the shackles fit into the lifting lugs located on the load to be lifted. Unscrew each shackle. Center the lifting lugs in between the shackles. Re-thread the shackle bolt into the shackle to make a secure connection between the load and the lifting slings. Lift the load to ensure that it lifts easily and that all connections are secure. Signal the crane operator only after the load has been checked for safety.

Secure a shackle to a lifting eye located on the load. Unscrew the shackle. Center the shackle over the eye bolt. Re-thread the shackle bolt into the shackle. Push one end of the lifting strap through the shackle. Attach both loops of the sling to the crane hook. Ensure that the load lifts evenly, and signal the crane operator to send the load only after the load has been inspected for safety.

Re-inspect each sling after all the crane lifts have been completed. If any slings have been damaged, mark the sling to be put out of service. Make sure that is sling is dry before being stored.


Never stand under a load that is being lifted or supported by lifting straps.

Things You'll Need

  • Crane
  • Lifting slings
  • Shackles
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