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In recent meetings with our members, calls from consumers and articles from industry media outlets confusion still reigns about the requirements of D-Shackles. From research, we have identified police and state departments have advised that there is no specific requirement for D-Shackles.
The current standard applying to shackles is AS 2741-2002; however, this standard does not specifically cover the use of rated shackles in an application such as attaching a trailer to a tow bar. This standard covers the use of shackles for lifting purposes.
Our understanding is that there is currently no regulation requiring shackles used on trailer safety chains to comply with the Australian Standard. However, some state authorities provide guidelines or advise for selecting suitable shackles. For example, the Northern Territory have a Vehicle Inspectors Bulletin with guidance for selecting a suitable shackle. Last year, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia with the support of the state associations conducted research with shackle manufacturers to develop an appropriate specification.
Industry Recommendation
Our recommendation is that a shackle meeting the requirements of AS 2741-2002 be used to secure rated safety chains up to 3,500kg capacity.
Suitable shackles have the following specifications:
 Meet the requirements of AS 2741-2002
 Shackle grade is "S" or "6"
 Working load limit (WLL) is 1,000kg
 Shackle diameter is 10mm
Either "Bow" or "Dee" shackle design is suitable, although it is noted that the "Bow" design provides a greater angular displacement.
A significant detail to understand is that the breaking load of a shackle is generally six times the working load limit.