Industry news — Using Your Chain Block

Using Your Chain Block

A Chain Block (also known as a chain hoist) is a tool used to lift and lower heavy loads using a chain. Chain blocks contain two wheels which the chain is wound around. When the chain is pulled, it winds around the wheels and begins to lift the item that is attached to the chain via a hook.

The below information is of a general nature, covering the main points for the safe use of chain blocks.


Chain blocks are used in a variety of industrial and commercial settings. 

Hand chain blocks are available in a range of capacities and with various types of suspension. Select the block to be used and plan the lift taking the following into account: Type of suspension – hook, trolley etc. Capacity, class of use and range of lift. Most chain blocks are designed for vertical lifting only. Use of these at an angle requires additional risk assessment and precautions. Some chain block designs permit use at an angle. Consult the supplier if the block is to be used in areas of high risk, exposed to the elements, water, steam etc, with hazardous substances, e.g. acids or chemicals, or subjected to extremes of temperature.

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The type of chain used with a chain block is imperative for effective operation.

Lifting and rigging chain should not be used for chain blocks. Chain Block chain is made specifically by the manufacturer for the chain block and can only be replaced by the manufacturer. It is made to fit certain size requirements and the pocket wheel inside the hoist.

The other difference you will see in a hoist chain versus a lifting chain is the stretch. Most of the time when you overload a rigging chain or a lifting chain you are going to see the evidence of stretch and this does not happen as frequently with a hoist chain.

Thus lifting chain is not interchangeable with chain block chain.


Follow any specific installation instructions issued by the supplier and the general requirements given overleaf. Try the block to ensure that it operates correctly and that the brake is effective. Ensure the chain is not twisted; it must move freely. The bottom hook must reach the lowest position required without the chain running fully out.


Because chain blocks are so often used for critical and intensive lifting and rigging applications, it’s extremely important to make sure you follow specific maintenance instructions.

In particular make sure load chains are lubricated and check the operation of the brake. Brakes must be kept free of oil, grease etc. Never replace the load chain with a longer one without consulting the supplier


Learn more about chain blocks and selecting the right chain block here

This information is of a general nature only covering the main points for the safe use of hand chain blocks in Australia. It may be necessary to supplement this information for specific applications.