The continued safe operation of lifting equipment, lifting accessories (e.g. slings) and other systems employing
wire rope depends to a large extent on the operation of well programmed periodic rope examinations, and the
assessment by the competent person of the fitness
of the rope for further service.
Examination and discard of ropes by the competent person should be in accordance with the instructions given in the
original equipment manufacturer’s handbook. In addition, account should be taken of any local or application-specific
The competent person should also be familiar, as appropriate, with the latest versions of related ASME B30,
International, European or National standards.
Particular attention must be paid to those sections of rope which experience has shown to be liable to
deterioration. Excessive wear, broken wires, distortions and corrosion are the more common
visible signs of deterioration (see below).
Note: This publication has been prepared as an aid for rope examination and should not be regarded as a
substitute for the competent person.
Wear is a normal feature of rope service, and the use of the correct rope construction ensures that it remains
a secondary aspect of deterioration. Lubrication may help to reduce wear.
Broken wires are a normal feature of rope service towards the end of the rope’s life, resulting from bending fatigue
and wear. The local break up of wires may indicate some mechanical fault in the equipment. Correct lubrication
in service will increase fatigue performance.
Distortions are usually a result of mechanical damage, and if severe, can considerably affect rope strength.
Visible rusting indicates a lack of suitable lubrication resulting in corrosion. Pitting of external wire surfaces
becomes evident in some circumstances. Broken wires ultimately result.
Internal corrosion occurs in some environments when lubrication is inadequate or of an unsuitable type.
Reduction in rope diameter will frequently guide the observer to this condition. Confirmation can only be made
by opening the rope with clamps or the correct use of spike and needle to facilitate internal inspection.
Note: Non-destructive testing (NDT) using electromagnetic
means may also be used to detect broken wires and/or loss
in metallic area. This method complements the visual
examination, but does not replace it.