Let Us Do The Heavy Lifting...

Here at Agri-Linc, we have been distributors and suppliers of high-quality lifting chains for a number of yearsLifting chains are used across a plethora of industries such as construction, plant, haulage and agricultureHere at Agri-Linc, we offer a very wide range of lifting chains with different grades, lengths and lifting capacitiesWith so many lifting chains available, we’ve put this blog together to make sure the chain sling you choose is right for you. 

We’ll also give you a brief overview on how to keep your lifting chains legal and compliant with health and safety regulations, as tiresome as they may be. So, let’s get into it.  

What Is A Lifting Chain?  

As the name suggests, lifting chains are specific chains used for lifting, lowering, pulling, dragging and winching of items that cannot be transported otherwise due to their weight, size, position or location.    While the majority of lifting chains are made from steel, for particularly heavy loads such as containers, the chains are required to be made from alloy steel. The reason for this is that alloy steel has an ability to stretch when it takes on a weight heavier than recommended, whereas standard steel is much more likely to snap. Many lifting chains also come with multiple legs that are attached to different parts of the load, providing secure attachment and helping to distribute the weight evenly.  

Lifting Chain Sling Health & Safety and Compliance 

Lifting chains are very often used to transport heavy and awkward machinery, therefore accidents involving faulty or sub-standard lifting chains can be very dangerous and even fatal. That’s why lifting chain slings have to be governed by health and safety regulations.  Lifting chain slings are rated and certified for lifting under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and are subject to LOLER (Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations).  

Chain assemblies will come with a WLL (Working Load Limit) – essentially this is the maximum safe weight that can be lifted, and this weight should not be exceeded. Whether you are lifting, pulling, towing etc, the certified rating of a lifting chain does not change. Any supplier of a lifting chain is also required to provide the customer with certification, including a unique certificate number; this ensures that the chain assembly conforms to the regulations. In addition, an identity tag is attached to the chain assembly, which gives the following information:  

  • The unique identification number 
  • The grade of steel used 
  • The diameter of the chain 
  • The chain leg configuration including working angle limits 
  • The working load limit 

If a lifting chain assembly doesn’t have an identity tag (as shown above), it is an illegal chain assembly.  

Like all tools and machinery, your heavy-duty lifting chains will need to be regularly checked (visually and functionally) to ensure they are still fit for purpose.  Lifting chains officially need to re-checked and recertified every six months under LOLER to ensure suitability, however, always perform a check of your lifting chains before use.  

HSE states that especially if your lifting chains are ‘exposed to conditions causing deterioration’, (e.g., subject to the elements in an open farmyard) they must be regularly examined by a competent person.  In addition to that, HSE also states that lifting chains should be thoroughly examined following ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as it being damaged or failing, using it for long periods of time or after a major change in how it is used. Written records must be kept of any examinations and inspections, identifying any defects and what action must be taken to correct them. Keep these records until the chain assembly is no longer in use.  Ensure that unfit chains are disposed of and any necessary new chains are acquired.  Keeping chains with serious defects that could cause potential injuries is against the law. Where a serious or significant defect is found, this must be reported to the relevant enforcing authority (HSE for example), even if the defect is remedied immediately.   

Things To Consider When Buying A Lifting Chain Assembly 

In this case, one size certainly doesn’t fit all, and you will need to use a specific size and type of chain depending on the weight of the load. Here are some factors that affect the capacity or working load limit (WLL) of lifting chain slings.   

Chain Diameter  

Small lifting chains typically have a chain diameter of around 7mm, and this allows them to lift small loads ranging approximately between 1.5 and 3.1 tonnes, whilst a larger diameter chain sling is designed for heavier loads.  Lifting chains can go up to 32mm in chain diameter – these are designed for manoeuvring the biggest loads.  These larger lifting chains can carry loads between around 31.5 and 47.5 tonnes, depending on the number of ‘legs’ the lifting chain has.   

Chain ‘Legs’ In The Chain Assembly 

Chain legs in the chain configuration help to balance and secure the load across the chains in a chain assembly. A chain assembly with four legs for example, may be able to lift higher WLL’s because it is able to spread the load across a greater number of different chains.  

Grade of Steel  

The higher the grade number of steel (i.e G8, G80 etc), the higher the quality of steel used in the chain assembly, resulting in a higher tensile strength and an increase in the working load limit.  

Lifting Do’s and Don’ts 

  • Plan the operation carefully, be wary of people, obstructions, overhead power lines etc. Ensure there is enough clearance to lift and lower/move the load safely.  
  • Inspect the chains for any damage (corrosion, wear and tear) or tangling/knotting before use 
  • Ensure that any loose elements of the load are removed or secured before the lift 
  • Carry out a trial, by raising/pulling the load slightly to check it is well-balanced and stable. Adjust the sling set up if necessary.  
  • When lifting, ensure the lifting point is over the centre of the gravity of the load, using shorteners if necessary to alter the chain sling length. Essentially, balance the load symmetrically and evenly, making sure the angles of the chain fit within the working angle limits as indicated on the identification tag. Preferably, all chain angles should be approximately the same for an even lift.  
  • With a multi-leg lifting chain, if it is not necessary to use all the chain legs on a lift, hook the legs that are not in use through the top ring of the chain assembly to prevent them swinging free.  If this is not done, it could cause unintended attachment to the load, damage or injury.  
  • When the lift/move is finished, check that the load is stable before removing the lifting equipment.  
  • On completion, carry out an inspection of the lifting chains used, and store safely.  

We hope you enjoyed reading this article on lifting chain slings, and feel better informed about which chain sling is the best option for you.  Click here to browse Agri-Linc’s range of chain slings.  If you’re still unsure, give our sales team a call on 01778 591225, and they will be happy to assist you.  

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.