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Forged steel shackles for general lifting purposes Dee shackles and bow shackles Grade 6 Safety BS EN 13889:2003

The current Harmonised European Standard for forged steel shackles for general lifting purposes is BS EN 13889:2003, which is a standard for Dee and Bow shackles grade 6. Shackles to the American US Federal Specification RR-C-271b are extremely popular and, in practice, it will be found that the vast majority of shackles in use today comply with its requirements. This is largely as a result of the influence of the oil industry. It is very similar to the Harmonised European Standard and the shackles would meet this standard. The old British Standards BS 3032, BS 3551 and BS 6994 have been withdrawn.


Shackles fall under the heading of lifting accessories in modern legislation and therefore should be examined by a competent person at periods not exceeding six months. Nothing will be achieved by a load test during the examination of in-service shackles as the strength is known prior to the examination. Indeed, such a test can be damaging if the item is worn but within acceptable limits. In-service shackles should therefore be carefully visually examined. In particular the following should be checked: (1) Free working of the pin. (2) The threads, both male and female, should be fully formed with no flats or worn portions and must be full size. There should be no excessive play when the pin is screwed in by hand from either the correct or reverse side. (3) Holes must align. The pin hole should not be too large so as to allow a gap when the pin is in place. (4) The maximum permissible wear is 8% reduction in material diameter on either the pin or the body. (5) There should be no signs of nicks, cracks, corrosion or chemical attack. (6) There should be no distortion. The body should have a good shape and the pin must show no signs of bending. (7) The length of pin and thread length should be correct for the shackle body. In the case of bolt and nut pins, when fully tightened they should not deform the body. In the case of screwed pins the thread must not be too long so that continued tightening results in closing the jaw gap of the body or so that more than the tapered run out of the thread is exposed inside the jaw of the shackle. Neither must they be too short so that the collar or seat of the pin is held away from the body when the pin is fully tightened. (8) Marking should be clear and legible.

MARKING BS EN 13889 requires that each shackle is legibly and indelibly marked with the following information, by the manufacturer, in a way that will not damage the mechanical properties of the shackle: a) Working Load Limit in tonnes b) Grade mark c) Manufacturers name, symbol or code d) Traceability code It also requires that pins of less than 13mm diameter are marked with either the grade mark or the traceability code and pins 13mm diameter or above are marked with the grade mark, traceability code and manufacturers symbol. TYPE OF STEEL
The steel shall be produced by an electric process or by an oxygen blown process. Shackles should be inspected before use to ensure that (EN 13889:2003)

a) the body and the pin of the shackle are both identifiable as being of the same size, type and make; b) all markings are readable; c) the threads of the pin and the body are undamaged; d) the body and pin are not distorted; e) the body and pin are not unduly worn; f) the body and pin are free from nicks, gouges, cracks and corrosion.

Key: 1 Crown 2 Body 3 Example of screwed pin with eye and collar type W 4 Eye 5 Bolt type pin with hexagon head, hexagon nut and split cotter pin type X