What are chains?

What are chains and why are they important in construction?

Lifting heavy materials and equipment can be dangerous so it is important to use the correct lifting equipment when moving large loads.

Chains are known to be very effective in the lifting industry with many options available to configure a chain to your exact specifications, although how much weight the chain can bear is dependent on what grade it is. The general rule of thumb is the higher the grade, the stronger and more resistant to stretching and breaking the chain is. So, it is crucial to understand the working load limit of the chain and the weight of what it is you wish to lift, before attempting to do so.  

There are a variety of different chains available in the construction market, including but not limited to extraction chains, restraining chains, lifting chains and chain hoists.

3D image of chains
Chain slings
Photo of chains

Extraction Chains

Extraction chains in particular are used when removing or releasing boxes and sheets within the confines of an excavation. These chains connect to the designated extraction points on MGF box panels via the shackle, whilst the master link connects directly to the excavator. Uniquely coloured and easy to identify, MGF offer extraction chains with a weight of 18kg to allow for easy handling.

Restraining Chains

Designed to provide short term vertical support to waler and brace systems via trench sheets or sheet piles, restraining chains are used to assist in the installation and removal process. From standard to heavy duty, restraining chains are offered in either a hook or shackle type with various working loads.

Lifting Chains

Elsewhere, as one of the most durable types of lifting equipment, lifting chains are produced in different grades. Also known as chain slings, lifting chains are another variation used in construction and can be utilised in many different applications of lifting where the weight, size, position or location of a load is an issue. This product is most likely to be used to lift heavy and bulky loads on a regular basis and can be produced in single-leg, 2-leg, 3-leg and 4-leg designs. With a wide range of fitting options, MGF chain slings offer lifting capacities of up to 85 tonnes.

Chain Hoist

Following on from the above, different chains can be used with a variety of compatible features, such as a chain block. Also known as a chain hoist, this is used to lift and lower heavy loads vertically using a chain which can be operated either manually, electrically or hydraulically. These are ideal for sites where heavy materials or a lift is routinely required.

MGF chains
Inspection of chains

Testing and Inspection Service

In order to maintain a safe working environment, it is a legal requirement that all safety, lifting and other work equipment be inspected on a periodic basic by a qualified person. To ensure that our customers and their own lifting equipment are compliant with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), MGF’s Lifting division offers onsite testing and inspection service. Our new process is as follows:

  • Equipment is inspected
  • Passed Items: Report of thorough examination is issued
  • Failed Items: Withdraw from use form is issued
  • Quotes issued for repairs or replacements
  • Report of Thorough Examination of Lifting Equipment (ROTEL) is issued for repaired items
  • Replacement items supplied and added to the system
  • Next inspection is booked 2 to 3 weeks before due date

If equipment fails an inspection, it will be quoted and actioned for repair or replacement in a timely manner. All inspections and repairs are recorded within MGF’s system to ensure a complete service history is available for the equipment.

To find out more about MGF’s range of chains, download our new Lifting and Safety brochure below.