How to Use Ratchet Straps and Tie Downs

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If you’re not accustomed to using ratchet straps and want to know more about tie downs, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Even if you have the basic concept of how these items work, knowing the basics when it comes to operating tie downs and ratchet straps can make your work more efficient and keep you safe. You can also talk to the sales team associated with the company where you purchased the ratchet straps. These professionals can answer any questions you have and walk you through the setup process. Be sure to take a look at all the ratchet straps and tie downs that a company offers along with the winch straps so you’ll know which items are right for you.

Ratchet straps come in several ratchets and end fittings. However, all these items work in a similar way by using two straps that are connected with a ratcheting assembly. When you thread a ratchet buckle, you should place the webbing through the slot in the middle rotating spool of the closed ratchet. Then, you’ll need to pull the webbing through and leave some slack so that you can safely pull the straps if necessary. You can start ratcheting, which means lowering and raising the handle; the webbing will wind automatically and be locked in place so that when you ratchet the straps you’ll quickly increase tension.

You’ll also need to know what to expect when you receive your ratchet strap. The new strap will arrive in two separate pieces. If you’re not sure how to put the pieces together or how they’re supposed to function, be sure to ask for assistance. It’s important to know about the working load limit and break strength of the strap as well. Use a strap based on the correct working load limit and break strength for the items you need to lift so you’ll have adequate support.

Each part of a ratchet strap assembly, which includes the ratchet, the wedding and all the end fittings, have a break strength. The strength is determined with independent testing and describes the amount of weight a strap can withstand before it breaks. Tie down assemblies are only as strong as their weakest points, and the section with the lowest break strength is used as the entire break strength of the whole ratchet strap assembly.

It’s also essential to know about the working load limit, which is calculated based on the break strength. To figure out the working load limit, you’ll need to take 1/3 of the break strength of the weakest part of the ratchet strap. This means that a tie down strap that has an assembly break strength of 10,000 pounds has a working load limit of 3,333 pounds. Never use an assembly in applications that are over the working load limit. Always choose ratchet straps that are manufactured with attached labels; the labels should include the working load limit and the break strength so you’ll know exactly which items you can lift with the strap.

David Lockhart