According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), alloy steel chains are often workers’ slings of choice due to their strength, endurance, flexibility of shape and resistance to abrasion. It is important to note, however, that not all chains are created equal. There are six major grades of chain workers rely on, and for the safest transportation of equipment, each should only be used in specific circumstances.

The Columbus McKinnon Corporation, a material handling equipment supplier, said chain regulations are a relatively new concept, as chains have been used to move and secure materials for more than a thousand years. Nowadays, to protect workers’ safety, OSHA, the American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) all enforce strict regulations regarding how various chains can be used. Chains are broken down into grades, which indicate the weight they are capable of holding before breaking.


A Basic Breakdown:

G30 Chain

  • Used for towing and logging
  • Never to be used for overhead lifting
  • Also known as proof coil

G43 Chain

  • Used for towing and load binding
  • Never to be used for overhead lifting
  • Also known as high test chain

G70 Chain 

  • Used for tie-downs, logging, oil rigging and towing
  • Never to be sued for overhead lifting
  • Also known as transport chain or trucker’s chain

G80 Chain

  • Used for overhead lifting

G100 Chain

  • Used for overhead lifting
  • 25 percent stronger than a G80 chain

G120 Chain

  • Used for overhead lifting
  • 50 percent stronger than G80 chain

Columbus McKinnon explained that in reality, any chain can be used for tying down and tensioning equipment. When it comes to overhead lifting, though, workers must be especially careful to use only alloy chain slings that are grade 80 or above. Using any other chain is dangerous.

Chain Safety 

No matter the type of chain being used, the National Association of Chain Manufacturers said it is vital to regularly inspect both chains and hooks for any damage. Any alteration in a chain—from a small nick or crack to wear and tear from overuse—could affect its ability to function properly. In addition, unless specified by the manufacturer, chains should only be used in temperatures ranging from 40 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Workers must also check chains for damage after they have been exposed to corrosive liquids, acids or fumes, as these elements can have a negative impact on a chain’s effectiveness.

OSHA recommends any work environment using chains have an assigned person to check all slings, fastenings and attachments before they are used, as well as to conduct more extensive inspections on a periodic basis. These in-depth inspections should occur at least once a year, but may need to be done more frequently depending on how often a chain is used and the intensity of the environment. Chains used in harsher environments should be inspected at least once a quarter, but preferably once a month. Assuring these inspections occur is key to maintaining the safety of workers.


Read more:

How to Choose the Right Band Saw Blade
The BSE Demo Truck is Rolling to a Town Near You This Summer
Motor Bearing Failure Troubleshooting with a Vibration Tester
Your Machines Can Burn Out: Are You Prepared to Prevent Downtime?
When Storms Hit, Border States is There to Help
How to Create a Worker Safety Training Program
OSHA Highlights Fall Prevention


E-commerce offerings:

(Contact a Customer Service Representative for additional selections, options, and solutions)

Chains and Chain Slings
Hoists, Winches, and Pullers
Lifting Attachments


Call and speak with a Customer Service Representative, and let us help meet all of your supply needs (1-866-483-7289).

Did you know that any customer is eligible for online ordering? All you need to do is fill out this online form.

Key benefits include:

  • Order anytime, 24/7, 365 days a year. If you can connect, you can place an order.
  • Create order templates, aka  “My Lists.”  Reduce search time, click, order, done.
  • Track purchase history and view your account information. You can review invoices any time, track purchase history, and print or download records.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?