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What are the parts of a manhole key?

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Labelled diagram of different parts of manhole keys

Manhole key handle

Manhole keys come in two different shapes: the handles are either T-shaped or D-shaped. The hook type handle pictured is a version of the T-shape.
T shaped handles on manhole cover keys

T-shaped handles

T-shaped handles are common and are designed so that the people using them can pull and twist to gain leverage and lift the cover off with both hands.

A person lifting a cover using T-shaped handles.
D shaped handles on manhole keys

D-shaped handles

D-shaped handles allow people to lift manhole covers with one hand.

Two people lifting a manhole cover with two hands.
Hook shaped manhole key suitable for light weight manhole covers

Hook-shaped handles

Hook shaped handles are usually designed for lightweight manhole covers, where they do not have to bear lots of weight. A lightweight cover can weigh anything between 6kg (14lb) and 38kg (85lb).

Two people lifting a lightweight manhole cover.

Manhole key shaft

Short manhole key with a short shaft

Short key with short shaft

A short key with a short shaft has been designed for medium weight manhole covers, enabling the worker to bend their knees and lift the weight without hurting their back. The cover can weigh between 40kg (85lb) and 60kg (140lb).

Two people using a short key to lift a manhole cover.
A pair of long shaft handled manhole keys

Long key with long shaft

A long key with a long shaft has been designed for heavyweight manhole covers. The weight can be lifted without bending the back. This type of cover usually weighs between 40kg (85lb) and 45kg (100lb).

Two people lifting a manhole cover with long shafted manhole keys.

Manhole key

Key of a manhole key that fits into a manhole key way The key is the part of the tool that enters the keyway and, upon twisting, locks into place so that the cover can be lifted. The keys at the end of the shaft can be D-shaped or oblong shaped. Although they are different in shape, they both do exactly the same thing.
A manhole lifter lifts manholes using a hydraulic sytem

Interchangeable keys and handles

Some manhole keys are available with interchangeable end tips. However, manhole lifters are expensive pieces of hydraulic equipment designed to lift manhole covers which come with a variety of different keys. They are designed to lift any cover, of any weight.

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