Lifting Shackles- a riggers best friend

Green Pin ShackleHave you ever looked at a construction site and wondered in amazement how huge loads are hoisted several hundred feet above the ground?
A closer look will give you a hint about how this is possible. Lifting and rigging equipment is made up of several complex components, each of which plays a critical role. Among the most integral components are lifting shackles.
They aren’t the largest devices, but lifting shackles play an important role in all kinds of rigging. They are made of a thick piece of metal that is curved or shaped like a ‘D’ or bow-shaped, like Ώ’. Lifting shackles usually have a pin or bolt across the opening. Depending on the length and the purpose of their use, a screw pin can be used or the more secure nut and bolt option which can be reinforced with a locking mechanism.
Shackles are typically used to connect the lifting device such as the hoist or rigging equipment with the object to be lifted. They can be used in a variety of hoisting, rigging and pulling applications. Because they are used as a connecting device, they need to be extremely strong to withhold weight on both sides and must be checked regularly for safety and maintenance.
An experienced rigger needs to be aware of how to use a shackle safely to ensure that the weight of the object being hoisted is balanced properly on the shackle and shackle does not tilt at an angle while an object is being lifted. The right kind of design makes all the difference in ensuring that a shackle works correctly. The most common designs are the ’D’ shaped and bow-shaped shackles, but it is also possible to have shackles shaped like a triangle or with a very long and narrow ‘U’ curvature.
The sturdiest shackles are made from super strong carbon, alloy or high-grade stainless steel. Depending on their size and composition, they need to meet US Federal certification guidelines. If the rigging equipment is being exposed to corrosive material or is being used in extreme heat, shackles that can withstand these environmental conditions must be used. Shackles used for lifting can bear weights up to 1000 tons or slightly more.
Typically, lifting shackles need to be inspected by a competent authority at least once every six months to check for their integrity and safety. Shackles should also be stored carefully and care should be taken to ensure that the pins and bolts in a shackle fit correctly and the threading is not damaged with each use. Deformed shackles should be discarded and no attempts should be made to weld or repair them or replace pins or bolts from another shackle.
Shackles are an integral part of rigging equipment and an experienced rigger counts on them to do all the heavy lifting.

Using Shackles To connect Components

Lifting Shackles are designed for connecting and securing components together for use in a lifting, pulling or tensioning application. Each shackle is rated to a particular safe working load (maximum capacity) this should never be exceeded.

To connect a component using a lifting shackle firstly you will need to open the jaws of the shackle by removing the screw collar pin, the screw collar pin may also in some cases be protected by a safety pin and safety bolt, most of the time it is a simple case of turning the screw collar pin anti clockwise and it is released. Should this not be the case then remove the safety clip, unscrew the safety nut then remove the screw collar pin.

The second stage is to connect the components together and secure them by replacing the screw collar pin and if applicable; safety nut and clip. A Lifting Shackle is supposed to be used in a straight pull however they are rated to be used up to 90 degrees however one should be aware that when side pulling with a Lifting Shackle the safe working load is reduced by 50%. The screw collar pin should also never be mounted in a way that it could be unscrewed unintentionally.

It usually goes without saying but one should also never use a damaged or worn shackle as this could risk a serious injury and always use fully certified CE Lifting Shackles.

Lifting Shackles Types And Varieties

Lifting shackles are designed to provide a closed connection of two components for lifting, pulling and loads as well as connecting components together in rigs. This is usually up to 1,200 Tonnes.

Shackles are manufactured in several different types and sizes, here are a few examples:

Dee Shackles- a ‘D’ shaped shackle featured a slim design with smooth bow and can be purchased with or without a safety locking nut to secure the screw pin in place to prevent tampering or any accidental movement. Options include extended long Dee Shackles as well as many sizes and capacities.

Stainless Steel Dee Shackle

Stainless Steel Dee Shackle

Bow Shackles- the same principle featuring a wider bow to provide extra flexibility with increased surface area on accessories such as slings. Also available in an array of different sizes.

Stainless Steel Bow Shackle

Stainless Steel Bow Shackle

Budget Economy Shackles- these are still manufactured to the correct safety standards as well as being certified to the working load limit as purchased. Economy shackles are cost effective and ideal for non aggressive use.

Premium Brand Shackles such as Green Pin lifting shackles are manufactured from the best quality materials and feature the signature green screw pin. Ideal for more intense work and long term use such as the hire industry.

Stainless Steel Shackles are perfectly suited to outdoor applications where the environment is particularly corrosive such as offshore where sea salt quickly corrodes unprotected material.

There are so many types of Lifting Shackle on today’s market to suit nearly every shackling requirement that could engrave planet earth! There are even Lifting Shackles designed for the theatre industry, coated in a black finish to prevent reflection of light in order to remain subtle.