No matter what kind of sling you choose, there are certain common elements you will need to consider to plan a safe, effectife lift:
Weight of the load - You will need to know, or estimate accurately, the weight of the load to ensure a safe lift.
Type of hitch and number of slings or legs - Consider the load's size and shape, load control (balance, slippage), attachment points, and any fittings that will be needed to connect the sling to the lifting device or the load. Loads should be lifted from a point directly over the center of gravity.
Reach and angle of the sling - Available headroom, any obstructions, and type of hitch are important factors in this determination. The angle at which a sling is used significantly effects its capacity. Use the longest reach possible for completing the lift; this will provide the largest angle possible for minimum stress on the sling.
Protect the load and sling from damage - Select the best sling material for the load and environment. Use softeners such as shims, padding or sling protectors to prevent damage at corners or projections.
Inspect slings before each use.
Protect personnel - Plan to position and utilize personnel safely during rigging and lifting. Use a line to stabilize or maneuver the load during the lift.
Sling - an assembly which connects the load to the lifting equipment.
Eye - a fabricated loop, normally at the end of a sling, used as an attachment or choke point.
Leg - the extending portion of a sling used in a basket hitch or one extension of a sling with multiple parts.
Fitting - a general term for a piece of lifting hardware such as a hook, obling, pear link, coupling, etc.
Master Link (Obling, Pear) - a forged or welded steel "gathering" link used to support a sling's legs.
Reach - the working length of a lifting sling when pulled taut. It is measured from the load bearing point at one end of the sling, to the load bearing point at the opposite end. (Exception: wire rope slings, see illustration above).
Hitch - the way the sling is fastened to or around a load.
Headroom - clearance above the load to allow for an unobstructed lift.
Sling Angle - the horizontal angle between a sling (or sling leg) and the load, when pulled taut.
Working Load Limit (Rated Capacity) - the maximum static load permitted by the manufacturer.
Proof load - the load applied in a nondesctructive "Proof Test" performed by the sling manufacturer or testing facility to verify the capacity of a sling or fitting.