safe working load (SWL)

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The manufacturer's recommended maximum weight load for a line, rope, crane or any other lifting device or component of a lifting device. The SWL is determined by dividing the minimum breaking strength (MBS) of a component by a safety factor assigned to that type and use of equipment. The safety factor generally ranges from 4 to 6 unless a failure of the equipment could pose a risk to life; in that instance the safety factor would be a 10. For example, if a line has an MBS of 1,000 pounds and a safety factor of 5, then the SWL would be 200 pounds. 1000 / 5 = 200. Also called working load limit (WLL).


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