UK based contractor Severfield has issued a safety bulletin regarding certain lifting chain sets manufactured by Force and withdrawn them from service.
The safety alert follows the failure of a 5.3 tonne capacity 13mm grade eight chain set produced by the Turkish based manufacturer. A chain link weld failed without warning during a routine lift of a 2.5 tonne load, according to Severfield. Although the company says that the beam or 'member' was partially bolted in place when the incident occurred. Which prevented any injuries.
The company said that chain was sent for examination by a metallurgist, and it withdrew all 13mm Force chains delivered six months either side of the failed chain from service. The metallurgist report showed a slight inclusion in the weld of another link in the set, similar to the onsite failure.
The company also tested other Force chain sets and claims that further chain links failed in similar manner. Thankfully nobody was injured in the incident, and there was no damage to materials or property.
Failures such as this are quite rare and Force dealers have tested this type of chain to 16 tonnes before failure. We understand that this particular chain set went into service in 2017, and was tested by a third party inspection company in January.
Given that the beam was partially bolted in place it is of course possible that additional stresses were applied to the chain over and above the load. However the weld inclusion should not have been there - whether it was the cause of the failure or not is uncertain.
We understand now that due to long lead times, this chain type has not been supplied to the UK market for the past 18 months.