Guidance on The Use of Cable Laid Slings and Grommets:

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMC A) is the international trade association representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies.

IMCA promotes improvements in quality, health, safety, environmental and technical standards through the publication of information notes, codes of practice and by other appropriate means.

Members are self-regulating through the adoption of IMCA guidelines as appropriate. They commit to act as responsible members by following relevant guidelines and being willing to be audited against compliance with them by their clients.

There are two core activities that relate to all members:

  •  Safety, Environment & Legislation
  •  Training, Certification & Personnel CompetenceThe Association is organised through four distinct divisions, each covering a specific area of members’ interests: Diving, Marine, Offshore Survey, Remote Systems & ROV.There are also four regional sections which facilitate work on issues affecting members in their local geographic area – Americas Deepwater, Asia-Pacific, Europe & Africa and Middle East & India.

    IMCA M 179

    This guidance reproduces and updates that originally provided by the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in its Plant & Machinery Guidance Note 20 (PM20), which was developed by a cross-industry working group.

    Prior to publication by IMCA, the guidance has been reviewed and agreed by the Association’s Marine Division Management Committee, in conjunction with its Safety, Environment & Legislation (SEL) Core Committee.


This guidance is intended to replace guidance previously published by the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in the form of Guidance Note PM20 (Plant & Machinery Series 20). HSE has advised that, although it no longer issues this type of guidance, it would not be adverse to operational practices which followed the guidelines formerly available in PM20. With the approval of HSE, IMCA has therefore reproduced an updated version of PM20 to provide guidance on good practice in the use of cable-laid slings and grommets.

The guidance was originally prepared by a working group of experts in 1987 and was intended to be mainly of assistance to those concerned with the use of cable laid slings and grommets in very heavy lifting operations. Such operations often use cable laid slings and grommets of 100mm diameter and over, as developed for use in the offshore oil industry. These are generally too large for existing test equipment to be used to test the rope sample to destruction. This note, therefore, gives advice on their construction, rating, testing, certification, examination and use.

There is a European standard for grommets and slings, which is European Standard EN 13414-3:2003. That standard states that it “covers ferrule-secured cable-laid slings up to 60mm” (diameter), although it does include some information about larger sizes; but will in any event not apply to most IMCA members because, as stated in Annex ZA to that standard, those excluded from the standard include “(8). – means of transport, i.e. vehicles and their trailers intended solely for transporting passengers by air or on road, rail or water networks, as well as means of transport in so far as such means are designed for transporting goods by air, on public road or rail networks or on water [vehicles used in the mineral extraction industry will not be excluded.], (9). – seagoing vessels and mobile offshore units together with equipment on board such vessels or units”.

The original working group membership for PM20 was as follows:

  •  British Ropes Ltd
  •  Brown and Root Ltd
  •  UK Department of Energy
  •  UK Department of T rade & Industry
  •  Gebr Henschel
  •  UK Health & Safety Executive
  •  Heerema Engineering Service
  •  Lloyds Register of Shipping
  •  McDermott Hudson Engineering Ltd
  •  Micoperi
  •  Noble Denton
  •  Shell Expro
  •  United Ropeworks LtdThe working group for the review and updating of this publication comprised:
  •  IMCA Safety, Environment & Legislation (SEL) Committee
  •  IMC A Marine Division Management Committee
  •  Heerema Marine Contractors Nederland B V
  •  Hendrik V eder
  •  J Ray McDermott Inc.
  •  Saipem
  •  Seaway Heavy Lifting Engineering
  •  UOS/Henschel


A full lay out for IMCA M 179 click here