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Near-miss: Shackle configuration

A member has reported finding shackles used for lifting equipment in an unsafe condition. A third-party lifting inspector was re-certifying lifting equipment when a 1 ton lifting shackle was discovered which had lost its pin, and the missing pin had been replaced with a standard bolt and nut which was not certified for lifting operations.

Additionally, the shackle was found to be pinched due to excessive pressure being applied when tightening the nut due to the bolt having thread along its entire length. It was not clear whether or not this shackle had been used for lifting but the potential for injury to personnel or damage to assets was high.

Non-compliant shackle with nut and bolt (note shackle lugs pinched)
Non-compliant shackle with nut and bolt (note shackle lugs pinched)
Shackle with correct configuration and split pin (but colour code unclear)
Shackle with correct configuration and split pin (but colour code unclear)

The following lessons were learnt:

  • Lifting equipment should be fit for purpose and certified by a competent authority for use;
  • Replacement or repair of lifting equipment invalidates the certification;
  • Lifting equipment should be reviewed regularly for non-compliance and any non-compliant items taken out of service;
  • Where damage is evident or pins/bolts are missing, the equipment should be removed from service and either destroyed or new parts ordered;
  • If new parts are ordered, the lifting equipment should be re-tested with a certificate issued prior to return to service;
  • Lifting equipment should follow the current colour coding;
  • Lifting equipment colour codes should be well communicated and displayed;
  • Identifying and reporting faults in lifting equipment is a regulatory requirement in many places and should be seen as a first line of defence.

Members may also refer to Guidelines for lifting operations.

Safety Event

Published: 18 January 2013
Download: IMCA SF 01/13

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