Introduction to Ratchet Strap Safety Tips
If you’ve ever moved using a trailer or transported cargo, then you’re obviously familiar with ratchet straps. In fact, as every transporter will no doubt tell you, ratchet tie-down straps are a key part of any transporters’ arsenal to transport goods from point A to point B safely.
As with any other tool, it’s important to use these ratchet tiedown straps correctly to ensure the goods you’re transporting arrive safely at their destination.
Not using these straps correctly results in cargo falling off the trailer or truck mid-transport. It goes without saying this could result in a very horrible accident. So, what does safe usage entail?
Correct Use Equals Safe Transportation
Whether you’re transporting something as small as a coffee table or as big as your kitchen cupboard, it’s important to ensure you’re using your ratchet tie-down straps correctly.
You might think it’s not necessary to use your straps if you’re “just going down the road” but there should never be any shortcuts when it comes to safety. Let’s look at a few of the top safety tips to follow when using tiedown straps.
Tip 1: Choose the Right Ratchet Strap for the Job
It’s important to remember that not just any ratchet can’t be used to tiedown any type of cargo. When choosing yours, consider the following:
- Weight capacity: Will your straps be able to handle the weight of your cargo?
- Length: Ensure you have the right length of the strap. Straps should go over your cargo without any strain that might result in snapping.
- Hooks: Ensure you have the right type of hook for the type of cargo you’re lying down.
Tip 2: Use the Ratchet Tie Down Straps Correctly
Using ratchet straps won’t make any difference if you’re using them incorrectly. Not only will you put other people in danger by driving around with loose cargo, but you’ll also run the risk of damaging your straps. The correct way to use a ratchet tiedown strap is as follows:
- The loose end of the strap should be placed into the mandrel of the ratchet.
- Pull the strap through the slot in the mandrel.
- Pull the slack out of the strap to make the strap tight.
- Crank the ratchet to the desired tightening position.
- Make sure the strap stays in line with the other to avoid tangling or locking.
- Lock the handle down after tightening to secure the strap.
Removing the ratchet tiedown strap afterward is equally important to ensure the straps don’t get damaged or torn.
Tip 3: Store Your Straps Properly
If you’re wondering what storage has to do with actual use, the answer is simple: more often than not, ratchet straps get damaged in the way they’re stored. There are three golden rules to storing your ratchet tie-down straps:
- Avoid exposure to moisture as this could cause mold or mildew, both of which can weaken the fibers of the straps. If straps are used in the rain, ensure they’re dried out and inspected before storage.
- Store ratchet straps in a cool, dry, and dark place. Straps exposed to the sun’s harmful rays can also weaken because it damages the fabric. Ideally, they should be stored on a shelf in a cupboard.
- Avoid heat and friction that could also result in weakening issues. This often happens when straps rub against each other during transport.
Tip 4: Use the Correct Quantity
The industry standard in transportation is to use your ratchet straps in pairs. Depending on what’s being transported, it might be necessary to use more than one pair. It might also be essential to use different types on different parts of the cargo.
Don’t be tempted into choosing the shortcut of using one strap because the item is small or you’re only moving it a short distance.
It’s crucial to research the specific regulations for the area as well as for the type of cargo you’ll be transporting. Not doing this could result in contravening road safety regulations.
Tip 5: Inspect Before Use
Ratchet straps, like the tires on your vehicle, should be inspected before every use. Don’t assume that because they were fine the last time you used them some months back that they’re still ready to use now.
Even “minor” damages like small nicks or tears can easily reduce the strap’s ability to keep your cargo safe on the transport vehicle.
Inspect your tiedown ratchet straps for damages that include tears, holes, worn stitches, or any form of corrosion. If you have previously used the straps to transport chemicals, you also need to check them for chemical burns from liquid spilling on them.
If you think following the correct safety protocols isn’t necessary, then picture a truck carrying logs not using their ratchet straps correctly and then getting on the road.
Scary isn’t it? Ensure your own safety, the safety of other drivers as well as the safety of your cargo by doing the right thing. Put safety first when it comes to transporting cargo!