Cover Lifting

Sunrise Tools provides magnetic manhole cover lifters, key-based manhole lifters, gully opening tools and vacuum and chain lifting accessories for specialised cover lifting applications, all available for on-line purchasing. Within this range, we can lift all forms of metallic manhole and drain cover, including cast and ductile iron, as well as most types of non-metallic cover.

Manually handling heavy access covers using handheld manhole lifting keys and hooks is inadvisable and unnecessary. The Manhole Buddy MagTec magnetic cover lifter is fast and effective on all forms of metallic drain cover and entirely safe for lone worker use. The Manhole Buddy KeyTec manhole cover lifting system uses threaded lock-down keys and a load spreader bar to connect with the cover; it is also suited to single-person working and will permit lifting of metallic and non-metallic covers, all forms of split cover and indoor covers with threaded lifting points.

Click here to see our Manhole Buddy demonstration video


HSE guidelines advise against manual handling of most drain covers, as their weight usually exceeds the recommended single person lifting limit of 25 kg. Similarly, many covers exceed 50 kg, for which two-person shared lifting would also be deemed inadvisable. Anyone familiar with drainage maintenance will be aware of how the size, shape and location of the drain cover are significant factors when assessing the lifting task and how compacted dirt and heavy traffic will increase the effort needed to lift the cover. Time pressure or an unfavourable location are often given as reasons for lifting drain covers manually, but using some form of mechanical assistance will always be safer, more likely to succeed and need not be slower.

The Manhole Buddy system uses the mechanical advantage inherent in its lifting trolley to unseat and move heavy drain covers. Through its High Leverage lifting pins, the trolley delivers a lifting effort more than five times the user input – the key to unseating jammed covers. When lifting and moving the cover, the trolley design multiplies the user input almost two and a half times, so what is a 60 kg lift, requires less than 25 kg downward push by the user.

As a general guide, using a Manhole Buddy, an average build person can comfortably lift covers equal to their own weight, repeatedly during a working shift. Moreover, as they need never be close to the suspended cover, it is entirely safe for them to work alone with this equipment.