Tool Talk: Ratchet Strap Safety Inspection

Ratchet straps are one of the most widely utilized tools to secure moving cargo. There are many different types of tie downs that are offered such as, heavy chains, and synthetic rope, but synthetic ratchet straps are used the most.

It is important to know how to utilize them properly. The most important safety step is to do a thorough inspection of each strap before it is put to use. The strap inspection only takes a moment to complete and can save you from fixing a problem for many hours, along with helping your company save thousands of dollars in the event a failure occurs. Remember ratchet strap failures can be easily avoided if you take the inspection step.

Synthetic Ratchet Strap Inspection Process

Minor damage to a ratchet strap can significantly reduce its capability to hold objects and increase the chances that the ratchet strap will tear apart while in use. This is why it is very important that you regularly and properly inspect the straps. In reality there is no such thing as "minor" damage. If you are not sure if the ratchet strap is damaged, DO NOT USE! Below are reasons why a ratchet strap would fail an inspection:

  • If ratchet strap identification tag is missing or not readable.

  • Holes, tears, cuts, snags or embedded materials.

  • Broken or worn stitching in the load bearing splices.

  • Knots in any part of the webbing.

  • Acid or alkali burns.

  • Melting, charring or weld spatters on the webbing.

  • Excessive abrasive wear or crushed webbing.

  • Signs of ultraviolet (UV) light degradation.

  • Distortion, excessive pitting, corrosion or other damage to buckles or end fitting(s).

  • Any conditions which cause doubt as to the strength of the ratchet strap.

Synthetic web ratchet straps can be re-webbed by using existing hardware. This is only possible if the ratchet strap manufacturer determines the hardware is reusable. All re-webbed ratchet straps utilizing used hardware will be tested at 150% of the WLL and certified. That being said, it is a better practice to buy/replace the entire unit.

You should never ignore ratchet strap damage or attempt to perform temporary field repairs of said damage to the straps (e.g., tie knots in the webbing, etc.).

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