Crane Tips Educational Video Web Series: Keeping You Safe and Compliant

In this new educational web series, Crane Tips, our founder Jay Sturm will walk you through how to inspect and use cranes and their components safely.

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Crane Tips Transcripts


Shackles are a very important part of rigging, when you’re going to rig up anything. You can use your web slings, your wire rope slings, your chain slings, in the shackle. Now a shackle is designed with two basic components. You’ve got the bow right there, and you got the pin. Some pins screw in, like this one does. Some pins go in and get secured with a cotter pin.

Now this particular shackle was designed so that if you wanted to use it on a piece of rigging that was going to stay on the crane for an extended period of time, for instance, or you’re going to use it with a man basket, or you want to secure this pin so it doesn’t back out – it’s just threaded in. So you put a hole in the end of the pin, and now you can do what’s called mousing. You can mouse this pin by running a piece of wire around from the hole over to the end of the bow, so that the pin doesn’t have the ability to back out.

Now when you’re tightening a pin in a shackle like this, Crosby Manufacturing – they’re the ones who made this one – their recommendation is that you tighten it in finger-tight. When you’re in the field, you’re going to say a lot of people saying “No, you’re going to tighten it finger-tight, and back it off a quarter turn.” And the reason you’re going to hear that in the field is because when you do bring it in this tight, finger-tight, some people’s fingers are heavier than others – and then you lift with it, sometimes the pin gets jammed and you can’t get it open, and then you have to go get tools – a wrench, or a hammer. Or what so many people do in the field is they use another shackle to beat this pin to get it open. So backing off a quarter of a turn – to my knowledge and the knowledge of everyone I’ve ever talked to – I’ve never seen an accident happen as a result of it. So you gotta know that protocol is to do it finger-tight, and in the field you’re gonna see people do that quarter turn all the time.

Now, this needs to get inspected regularly, alright? It could be the weak link in your lifting. So you want to make sure there’s no cracks in the bolt. You want to make sure it hasn’t been distorted. Now, the easiest way to make sure this hasn’t been distorted at all is when you can’t get the pin out. This one has been bent to the point where this pin won’t turn anymore. Here’s a picture of one that has been bent really well. Do you think you’ll ever get a pin through that again? So this one here goes in the trash, or you can donate it to me – I’ll use it as a display. But it’s never going to be used for lifting again.

Now there’s some specialty shackles made. This one here is pretty slick. You see how wide that bowl is? Well that’s made for a web sling. So you can put a web sling in there, and you’re not crushing up the eye of the web sling; it lays in there nicely. Pretty special – does the job just like the other slings do. And this one is mouseable, and this one is in good shape, because you can turn the pin. And that’s what I have for you today for shackles. Thank you for coming. My name is Jay Sturm – this is Cranes101’s Crane Tips.

Wire Rope Clips

Welcome to another edition of Crane Tips, brought to you by Cranes101 in Bellingham, MA. Today I’d like to talk about wire rope clips. Now wire rope clips are used to clip together a wire rope to perhaps make a turnback eye, if you want to put an eye in the rope. But not all wire ropes are created equal.

I want to show you a couple versions of the wire rope clip. This is version one, and you can see it’s got a very narrow saddle. This is the saddle of the clip – so you’ve got the saddle, and you’ve got the bow. This narrow saddle is not designed for lifting. It’s very important that you know that.

Now here’s a wire rope clip, and you see how wide that saddle is? This is designed for lifting, and when you ensnare the rope in here, it grips it very very well while it cradles the live side of the rope in this big, wide expansion here. Now so there’s no controversy about how many wire rope clips you use when you do a turnback eye, where they go, the manufacturers of these clips publish where these clips should be located, how many, how many foot pounds you’re going to exert on these nuts to tighten the bow down. You wanna stay within their confines. You don’t wanna overcrush the rope, leading to broken strands in the rope, and you don’t wanna undercrush the rope, ’cause the rope could potentially slip through. So when you’re gonna do anything for lifting with a rope – and you can terminate a rope with a wire rope clip – follow the manufacturer’s directions and use the proper clip. This is designed for it. That is lifting wire rope clip.

This edition was brought to you by Cranes101. Thank you for visting Crane Tips with Jay Sturm.

Round Slings

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Crane Tips, brought to you by Cranes101 in Bellingham, Massachusetts. My name is Jay, and I’d like to discuss with you today: round slings or endless slings, depending on what part of the country you’re in what they actually call them. I’ve got one right here in my lap, and as you can see, the sling has no beginning and no end. Now this sling heren has a number of properties that will match it up pretty much to a web sling. So it’s got a label on it that tells you its capacity in different configurations.

Now this sling here probably measures about two inches across, and it has a capability of lifting 10,000 pounts – five tons – about the weight of a small truck – with this little sling. And this sling weighs about a pound. It’s very light and very versatile. It’s made out of canvas on the outside, which you’re looking at. Inside is typically fibers, or hairs, that are made of kevlar. It is incredibly strong for its size, and it’s very nice to work with, because you can tie it essentially in knots, and it works. You can basket it, you can use it straight up. It is very, very versatile.

One thing that will destroy a round sling is if you get a cut in the canvas, and dust gets in there. And what’s amazing is that those yarns, those fibers in there that are so strong, can be destroyed by dust. Once this gets cut open, it’s time to go – toss it away. Remember – rigging is disposable. So when this rigging has served its usefulness, you cut it up and buy a new one. It’s not that expensive, and you’re worth it. This has been another edition of Cranes Tips, brought to you by Cranes101. My name is Jay Sturm – thank you.

Wire Rope Slings

Hi. My name is Jay, and this is Crane Tips, brought to you by Cranes101 in Bellingham, MA. Today ‘I’d like to discuss wire rope slings with you. Now wire rope slings have a very special purpose in this business. They’re very versatile and very strong. A wire rope sling may occasionally get a dog leg in it – a little bend – and they’re still usable at that point. But I want to show you one that has gone beyond that usable point.

When it has deformed this badly, then it is no longer usable. Now you can see this wire rope sling is made out of a standard lay rope, like a right lay rope, six strands. Now the eye of this – and one of the reasons this is so incredibly strong, is the eye has been separated and woven back into itself, so the end of this rope is underneath this collar, which then gets crushed onto the end. So the harder you pull on this eye, the tighter it pulls on itself, and it grips, so this eye isn’t gonna pull loose.

Now this Flemish eye can be just as effective, or nearly as effective, without this crush collar at all. So the eyes on this are just fine, alright – but the fact that it’s been this badly deformed, you have to be concerned about whether there are broken wires in the core of this rope, and that’s the part you can’t see. And if you wanted to inspect it to see if there’s broken wires, you’d have to cut the rope bit out, and then you might as well just throw it away at that point.

Again, this is a piece of rigging, and we’ve discussed this before – rigging is disposable. And when this one looks like this, you throw it away. Or you can give it to me and I’ll use it for demonstration. But you don’t use it for lifting anything. I thank you for attending this. My name is Jay Sturm, and we are Cranes101 bringing you Crane Tips.


Hello. This is Crane Tips, brought to you by Cranes101 in Bellingham, Massachusetts. Today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about hooks. Crane hooks come in different varieties, and different styles, for different usages.

I would like to start with this – it’s a basic lifting hook for a crane. It’s missing the safety latch. Safety latch is a requirement on a crane, whether it be overhead crane or a mobile crane, doesn’t matter, but the safety latch needs to go from this point over to the point of th hook to close this gap, so that if there’s a little dynamic, the load doesn’t jump off the hook. It doesn’t have to have any value as far as the strength of the hook, it just needs to be able to divert the load back to the bowl of the hook. This is the bowl of the hook. Alright? So that is the basic hook for lifting. The hook is okay, except that it needs a safety latch.

Now crane hooks are made very special. They’re heat treated in such a way that they are gonna deform, like this one, before they actually break. They’re quelched and heated in a certain way, so that they have the ability to stretch like this. Now a hook could potentially deform slightly during use and pop right back into shape, and that’s acceptable, as long as it goes back to the original shape that it was in. When it does this, this is a deformation; this is a failed hook. You can see there’s no cracks in this hook – this hook is bent wide open.

Here’s another hook that has done the same thing. This is a chain hook, and typically this gap here is absolutely parallel, but this one has bent open as well. And again – didn’t break – it just bent open. Now occaisionally you’ll run into a hook like this one. Does that kind of resemble a pelican? Well doggie – it’s a pelican hook, and it’s used for sorting, so there is no safety latch made for this, because the mold is so deep. So this would be used in a factory, where they hang something on it quickly, move something to another locaiton, and pull it right back off again. So it’s very short term, it’s not used for lifting to great heights. It’s essentially for sorting. It’s called a sorting hook, or a lot of people refer to this as a pelican hook.

That’s all I have to say about hooks for today. Thank you for attending. My name is Jay Sturm, and this is Cranes101’s Crane Tips.

Web Slings 1

Welcome to Crane Tips, brought to you by Cranes101 in Bellingham, MA. Today, let’s talk a little bit about rigging, and the first piece of rigging thatI’d like to talk about is right here in my hands. This is called a web sling. It is the functional portion of what you’re going to use to lift that is going to wrap around or choke the piece that you’re lifting.

Now this is made out of a very, very strong yarn, and they’re so fine that if you ever saw one of these cut, it looks like a really, really , really fine hair. But the strength of this sling that measures two inches wide, in fact, is amazing. This sling here in a vertical position like this, is capable of lifting 3200 pounds, one and a half tons, and if you basket it, like this, you’ve doubled the capacity. So this sling, essentially, has the capability of lifting what an average car might weigh. So it’s a pretty amazing piece of equipment.

Now every sling is required to have a tag on it, and the tag is gonna tell you what its capacity is in the various configurations. One is a straight sling, like this. One is a basket, like this, and when the two legs are absolutely vertical, you’ve doubled the capacity of the sling. And the third, and this is one of the best little pieces of magic of this sling, is the choke. If you really want to have load control, you can choke it, like this. Alright, you lose capacity, and that’s right here on this label.

When you’re gonna inspect a sling like this, there are many things that you wanna look at, ‘cuz this is all visual in the inspection. First, you wanna look for stray yarns – any yarns that have been cut and are pulling out of this weave. They are gonna diminish the ability of this sling to do its job. The other thing that you can look at is the stitching, ‘cuz the lifting on this sling is one hundred percent dependent on this stitching, and occasionally over the time, the stitching starts to pull out. When it does, protocol is to cut the sling in half and throw it away, so that no one else can use it.

One of the high mortality items on the sling is the eye, alright? And the eye of the sling has to be in as good of shape as the rest of the sling, all the time. So you wanna check both eyes for cuts, because occasionaly they do get cut. Remeber this one super important notion – that you have to remember about web slings, and rigging in general: rigging is disposable. When it’s no longer serviceable, you have to throw it away, and get another sling. And that’s the most important little ditty that I wanted to impart to you today. Thank you for listening. My name is Jay, and this is Cranes101’s Crane Tips.

Web Slings 2

Welcome to Crane Tips, brought to you by Cranes101 in Bellingham, MA. Today I’d like to discuss part two of web slings, and how to inspect them. Now you remember in part one, I showed you a web sling that was in good, serviceable condition. Now I want to show you the other side of this equation.

This is another 2″ web sling, and as you can see, this part of it here – we’ve got the label, and the label gives you capacities as needed. And when you are inspecting the sling, and this is one of the first things you’re going to come into is – this ia cut. And this is where the sling may have gone around a sharp piece, alright? Further down on the sling, this is another cut, and this is what the yarns look like in the sling. See how fine they are. But these are fine and incredibly strong, ’cause all of these fine, fine, fine hair-like fibers mesh together, give this sling the ability to lift an average car. So if you were ever to feel this, it feels like sheep’s wool, the way it’s all pulled out.

So this sling has been destroyed, and the only reason it’s not in the trash is so I could show you, because I value your learning. But this sling should have been taken out of service a long, long, long time ago. And that is our Crane Tip for today. I’m Jay Sturm, and this is Cranes101’s Crane Tips.

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To contact Jay about serving as an expert witness, please contact him via SturmCorp.

Crane tips with Jay Sturm of Cranes101 - The Safety Training Specialists.
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