Anyone can use ratchet straps from professional cargo transport to a school mum. When used properly, they keep whatever you are transporting secure, be that camping equipment or a wagon load of logs!
As most professionals know, with any equipment, there is the right way to use them and the wrong way. This blog will explore how to look after and use ratchet straps—also known as lashing straps and tie-downs—according to Road Safety Guidelines.
Keeping Your Ratchet Straps In Tip-Top Condition
If you want your ratchet straps to function safely, you must take care of them by heeding the following advice.
Check them thoroughly before using them. Any mould, weakening or discolouration indicates damage. If you find any, do not use the straps-you will be an accident waiting to happen!
Don’t leave the ratchet straps in a heap on the floor when finished with them – they will get damp. Plus, they’ll be such a pain to untangle.
Moisture causes mildew and mould. Both seriously weaken the strap. Make sure you fold the straps neatly and place them above ground in a dry area. Over time the UK weather can cause the same problem – time then to buy new ones,
Too much exposure to sunlight can also cause your ratchet straps to deteriorate. Unfortunately, unlike people, we don’t have sun cream for them. So if you notice significant colour fading, it’s time to stop using them and get new ones.
Be careful when using them that you don’t have them rubbing against hard edges that can cut and damage the webbing.
Inspect the straps daily, or at least before using them—look for colour changes, burn marks or cuts. If found, time to throw them and get new ratchet straps.
Using Your Ratchet Straps
You must use the correct ratchet straps for the load capacity they are securing. Checking the coloured label on every ratchet strap will give you the information you need to ensure your load is safely secured.
Lashing Capacity – LC
The LC is the maximum force for use in a straight pull that the webbing can sustain. Occasionally a second LC indicates the maximum force for a round pull. The measurement used is decaNewtons or daN. These are equivalent to kilograms.
Standard Tension Force – STF
STF is the residual force after releasing the ratchet handle, according to EN12195.
Which to Use, STF or LC?
The Health & Safety Authority, the HSA, says,
- When using a direct restraint system, the LC tells you how many straps will be needed to secure the load.
- When using an indirect or frictional restraint, it is the STF you need to calculate the required number of straps.
Use The Correct Number Of Straps For The Load
HSA recommends that you use at least one strap per row when carrying boxes, pallets, or spillage. It is custom and practice in the transport industry to use the ratchet straps in pairs.
Using The Ratchet Straps Properly
Attaching The Straps
1: First, you must put the tie-down straps loose end into the ratchet’s mandrel – the cylindrical round rod.
2: You then pull the rest of the strap through the mandrel.
3: Make the strap tight by pulling the slack through the mandrel.
4: You use the ratchet to achieve the desired level of tautness.
5: Take care not to tangle the strap.
6: Finally, lock the handle into place when you achieve the tautness you want.
Releasing The Straps
1: Pull the trigger toward the back handle
2: Opening the ratchet fully
3: On release, take all the webbing out of the mandrel.
4: Pull the trigger to unlock, then close the ratchet back down.
Remember, if not in use, store your ratchet straps away safely. If you want to know more about ratchet straps, you can always call our sales team on 01772 431908 and talk with one of our experienced personnel.