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Monday, 4th September 2023 Rigging

Mastering Safety: Tips for Using Bow Shackles in Lifting and Rigging Operations

At Keble’s Trading, we have been working alongside builders, contractors, and fabricators across multiple construction and industrial sectors for over 30 years. This substantial period of operations has empowered us with industry knowledge regarding rigorous Australian building codes and how each of our products is certified to align with the ABC’s strict safety guidelines. Couple this with our four stores across busy Melbourne stocking popular products that are highly sought after by residential consumers and commercial clients.

In this blog post, we will explore essential tips for safely using bow shackles in lifting and rigging operations, ensuring both personnel and equipment remain unharmed.

Choose the Right Shackle

Before you begin any lifting or rigging operation, the first step is choosing the appropriate bow shackle for the task. Factors to consider are the working load limit (WLL), material composition, and shackle type (e.g., screw pin or bolt type). Always select a shackle with a WLL that exceeds the maximum load you plan to lift.

Inspect Regularly

Inspecting your equipment is a fundamental practice that cannot be emphasised enough. Before each use, thoroughly examine the shackle for any signs of wear, cracks, deformities, or corrosion. Additionally, check that the pin is secure and in good condition. If you detect any issues, replace the shackle immediately. When purchasing your bow shackles, ensure they are authorised and comply with the state’s laws where they will be used, as each Australian state has its own safety standards and regulations.

Quality Assurance

Certified bow shackles undergo rigorous testing and inspection to meet specific quality standards. This helps ensure they are free from defects and perform reliably during critical operations. At Keble’s Trading, we provide additional services where our QA technicians will test all equipment before purchase and periodically after purchase. This ensures the safety of all personnel handling the equipment before any application or project is started.

Mind the Angle

When rigging with bow shackles, the angle at which the load is applied significantly affects the shackle’s working load limit. The WLL decreases as the angle deviates from zero degrees. It’s vital to consider the angle and calculate the correct WLL accordingly to avoid overloading the shackle.

Proper Placement

Ensure that the shackle’s pin is inserted correctly and secured in place. The pin should be screwed or bolted tightly and positioned to minimise the risk of snagging or catching on other objects. A loose pin can result in a catastrophic failure during lifting operations.

Avoid Side Loading

Bow shackles are designed to handle loads applied in line with the shackle’s axis. Side loading, where the load is applied sideways, can lead to dangerous predicaments. Always position the shackle to align the load with its axis to prevent unnecessary stress and potential failure.

Use Proper Connections

When connecting shackles to other equipment or components, ensure the connection points are appropriate for the intended use. Use approved connectors and ensure they match the WLL of the shackle and other components. This will maintain the integrity of the entire rigging system.

Gradual Loading

Avoid sudden jerks or excessive forces that can shock load the shackle when lifting or rigging. Shock loading places immense stress on the shackle and increases the risk of failure. Gradually apply tension to the rigging to distribute the load evenly.


Bow shackles are indispensable tools in lifting and rigging operations. However, they demand caution during usage, as their misuse can lead to disastrous consequences. By following these essential tips, you can ensure that your operations are carried out safely and efficiently. Regular inspections, proper placement, correct angle considerations, and adherence to load limits are all critical factors in maintaining a secure rigging system.

Prioritising safety not only protects your equipment investment but, more importantly, the well-being of every stakeholder involved in the operation. For all your building and construction requirements, shop with Keble’s Trading today for our wide range of stainless steel, rigging and lifting components and equipment.

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