Winching Safety Tips

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Last Updated on June 24, 2022

Winching, in its own nature, is a dangerous task to do. Thus, it would require a person to know and take all sorts of precautions that there is to take. One should never compromise when it comes to their safety. You must learn all the aspects of winching and properly know about the tool. 

Here, we will give you some of the major winching safety tips and a few tricks that will help you to rescue a vehicle via winching and even get the best out of your equipment as well. 

15 Winching Safety Tips You Should Know

Winching Safety Tips

1. Learn How to Winch

The basic foundations of winching are the first thing you’ll need to understand. If a person does not understand how winching works or how a winch should be handled, they will be seeking mishaps and injuries. So, first and foremost, read the user manual carefully to learn how to operate the winch you have purchased. 

And since the internet is our thing nowadays, you could always watch a video to get a visual idea of how winching is done properly. And better yet, if you have someone who has already mastered the task, you can always go and ask them how it’s done.

Remember that the first and most important safety tip is to understand how to use the winch properly.

2. Choose the Right Equipment

Another important aspect is the ability to select the appropriate tool for the job. When it comes to winching, picking the appropriate winch can feel like a life or death situation.

First, assess the task at hand, and then select a winch that is appropriately rated for the job. Find out the right size of winch for your job. Never compromise with the pulling power, you should always go for the higher ones whenever possible.

For example, if your winch’s maximum capacity is 1 tonne, never try to use it for anything heavier than that. You should get a winch that is capable of pulling at least 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle that you own.

3. Inspect Your Winch

There will be instances when you haven’t used your winch in a long time, but an accident may occur when you do. So, before each ride, double-check that your winch has all of its parts and that they are in good working order. It is critical to keep your winch in good operating order at all times.

Winch inspections should be a part of your pre-ride routine. Let out the entirety of your winch rope as you’re going about and conducting your customary once-over. Check for any damage, as well as rust and kinks if you’re using a steel cable. 

If it appears to be damaged, you’ll need to replace it with your backup winch rope or cable. If you have a synthetic rope, you may cut the broken section off, reattach the hook, and you’ll be able to use it again. 

Other inspections often involve motor functionality, lines, and drum integrity, among other things. If you see corrosion, loose bolts, mud deposits, or any unusual sounds emanating from the engine, you’ll need to address the problem before using the winch.

4. Use Proper Safety Guard

Before you start winching, you should put on some basic safety gear. The usage of particular safety equipment is required for safe winching. Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned veteran, there’s no replacement for wearing protective elements while winching.

You’ll need thick hand gloves to protect yourself because you’ll be utilizing your hands with a lot of force during the process. Or else, the steel cable or the synthetic rope of the winch you are using can seriously hurt your hands. To safeguard your eyes from injury, you must also wear safety glasses.

5. Have the Winching Area Clear

Nobody should be in the area where you will begin the winching job for safety reasons. You must ensure that neither you nor anyone else steps on the steel cable or synthetic rope. It will be necessary to keep a safe distance so that no one is harmed if something goes wrong unexpectedly.

Also, make certain that the area is clean before you begin.

In the middle of the winch line, you also need to insert a soft weight or something like a heavy jacket garment. This is in the case of the cable snaps, releasing a significant quantity of energy in an instant and causing serious injury as a result.

6. Use Winching Accessories Wisely

Another precaution to take before a winching session is to use winching attachments that are rated and equipped for the job. Whether the accessory is a snatch block, hitch extension, hook, winch thimble, extension line, tree strap, winch line damper or anything else, you must ensure that it is designed for winching and has enough weight capacity.

There will be instances, however, when the winching equipment will not be sufficient to save one’s vehicle from harm. The rope or line may be too short, and it will be required to wrap it around a nearby tree.

 In this instance, you’ll need to be cautious about your safety procedures. One method is to use thick lashes to connect it to the tree and seize blocks to make a dual-line pull.

Additionally, you can use line weight to help maintain the line on the ground even if it is snapped.

7. Never Hook a Winch Line to Itself

A tree saver or a heavy-duty winch strap is something you should always have with you in case you need to anchor to trees. If you don’t have one, you may feel compelled to wrap your winch line around the nearest tree and then hook it back on the line.

That would be a terrible and even hazardous notion. If your winch line does not snap and break straight away, there will be some damage done to it, which could result in an accident in the future without you realizing it or even suspecting it. You might be destroying the tree by digging and cutting through its bark.

8. Make Sure the Hook is Facing Up

You should always use a hook for the winch that has a latch and it’s better if the latch can be locked as well. You are required to make sure the opening of the hook is always facing upwards when hooking your winch line to another vehicle, tree saver, or anchor place.

This assures that if the hook fails, it will be driven down into the ground. On both steel cable and synthetic rope, a flying hook poses a danger.

9. Use a Snatch Block for Difficult Pulls

You should always take a snatch block with you in case you find yourself in a scenario where you don’t know if you’ll be maxing out your winch on the pull. It may be little, but it will undoubtedly provide you with a significant mechanical edge.

 Additionally, utilizing it regularly will extend the life of your winch and make your job much easier. It’ll get you out of a lot of tight spots, especially if your winch isn’t powerful enough.

10. Add Extra Weight to the Winch Line

Another safety suggestion is to add weight to your winch line once everything is safely fixed and hooked, especially if your winch has steel cable lines. 

All you need to do this is grab something from your surroundings, such as bags or bottles, and drape it over the rope. If your hook loosens or the line breaks, this causes the cable to shoot towards the ground.

11. Don’t Go for Long Bursts

If you winch for an extended amount of time, you may experience overheating. As a result, the motor’s efficiency will be reduced, and the winch line may be accidentally snapped.

Typically, when winching, a substantial quantity of energy is expended, which can cause the vehicle’s battery to die sooner. 

Short bursts of fire, on the other hand, do not cause overheating; rather, they help to prevent it. That is self-evident, as the lower the pressure on the engine, the better the odds that it will live longer until there is another mechanical breakdown.

12. Keep Checking the Cable Often

The operator must inspect the winch’s cable, rope, and straps regularly to ensure that it is safe and reliable to operate. 

If any damage or fraying is discovered, the necessary action for that component of the winch must be done, such as whether to replace it or repair it and then use it. You should never use a rope that has been damaged.

13. Designate a Spotter

There are times you will have people around you who would want to help you by being a spotter; someone who would let you know when to start or stop. Now, if multiple people are doing that at the same time, then it would be more of a problem than helping. So instead, you should have only one person as a spotter to get you through the winching process.

14. Don’t Jerk

To be a good wincher, you must be patient, which means you must winch slowly and steadily. Some people choose to use the equipment to force their vehicle out as hard as they can rather than relying on the winch. Excessive pressure will only result in whiplashes, snapped rope, and damaged anchor points.

15. Stay Focused

This tip is a must for any sort of work that anyone does. But when it comes to something that can be as dangerous as winching, you should be as concentrated on your task as anyone can be given that accidents can happen anytime!

These were some of the tips and tricks that will help save your life when it comes to winching. You should pay attention to all of these winching do’s and dont’s and even revise them every time you go winching!

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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