If you’re moving heavy objects, such as during a move from one residence to another or in an industrial setting, there are a number of different pieces of equipment that can help. Things such as forklifts (both manually operated and as vehicles), dollies or hand trucks, and other items can make the moving process much easier. Another such piece of equipment anyone moving should be aware of is round slings, also known as webbing slings or webbing straps. These can be used to help with heavy lifting with furniture that offers a lot of resistance.
What is Webbing?
Webbing, which is the material that webbing slings and round slings are made of, is a strip of very strong woven fabric made from natural or synthetic fibres. This is a material that is especially designed for use with heavy weight and can often withstand stresses of up to 4,500kg without breaking. Webbing can be made from synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester, Kevlar, and polypropylene, as well as from natural fibres such as cotton or flax. The synthetic webbing tends to be stronger, though natural fibre webbing is fine for applications involving less weight.
What is a Sling?
Slings are looped sections of webbing. Traditionally used in rock climbing, where they are often hooked to other mountaineering equipment, tied to a tensioned line of rope, or looped around some trees or rocks, slings are also well suited to other purposes. They work well with lifting applications involving heavy weight because they were designed to be very difficult to break. Round slings are, as the name implies, round in shape and are composed of webbing straps with the ends joined together.
The way round slings and webbing slings are used in moving can vary, but it usually involves the webbing straps composing the loop being placed underneath a heavy piece of furniture and then hooked over the shoulders of the lifters on either side. They can then support the furniture item effectively from both sides. This usually works well and is far easier than unassisted manual lifting. One of the advantages of this set up during a move is that it allows the weight to be borne by the legs and shoulders rather than the back while lifting is occurring. The webbing straps support the object from underneath, thus doing away with the need for lifters to have their hands underneath the object. This allows them to stand up in a much straighter manner.
Hazards of Poor Lifting
The hazards of poor and unassisted lifting practices with heavy objects are well known. The action of standing up straight from a bent position, which is often the order of events during an unassisted move, can place a large amount of stress on the back. This can lead to back injury. It can also result in dropping the object if someone is not strong or well trained enough to lift it effectively from the stooped bent over position.
Length and Thickness of the Sling
The question of how long and thick the sling needs to be depends on the weight of the object or objects being lifted. A term called break load is used to determine the length and thickness of the sling and factors in the weight of the object as well as the angle of lift. There are tables that can tell purchasers of webbing straps what length a thickness they need to be for a particular object given the break load.
If you are trying to determine the best way of moving some heavy objects, webbing slings are an important item to consider. They are simple pieces of equipment that can make the job of heavy lifting and moving much easier and safer. They can be purchased at a variety of retail locations and online.