Keeping ratchet straps in tip-top condition

Ratchet straps, also known as lashing straps and tie-downs, are one of the most popular methods for securing cargo in transport. Constructed from an industrial-strength polyester mesh, they are an important component in material handling.

As with all industrial equipment, proper care must be taken to ensure that ratchet straps are well prepared for safe and effective use. Any kind of damage to a strap can affect its working load limit and breaking strength, putting both equipment and individuals at risk.

CargoStop’s ratchet straps are chosen by some of the biggest names in the UK transport industry, due to our reputation for safety and quality, built up over 40 years.

We have now become the industry’s trusted advisor on the safe use of this vital piece of equipment. So, we thought we’d bring you our top tips for maintenance and storage to extend the life of your ratchet straps for as long as possible.

1. Keep ratchet straps clean and dry

To avoid deterioration of the fabric, it’s important to make sure the webbing is clean and dry. Straps can be cleaned after use, and a simple hose down with clean water should remove most of the dirt. For more stubborn dirt, mix a mild (non-bleach) detergent with warm water and loosen stubborn debris with a scrubbing brush.

2. Inspect ratchet straps for damage

Every time you use a ratchet strap take time to inspect it for damage. It is critical that ratchet straps are discarded if they show any signs of tearing, cuts or abrasions. Also, never use a ratchet strap where the webbing is knotted or the strap has previously broken and been tied back together again. This will seriously affect the strength of the webbing and will no longer comply with the EN 12195-2:2001 legislation. Ensure that the ‘Blue Label’ is intact and legible, as this is another area where the whole strap could fail to legally comply. The EN legislation requires that a blue label is sewn into any detachable portion of the strap, therefore a standard ratchet strap has two labels, one on the loose tail portion and one on the ratchet tail. At CargoStop we double up on these labels stitching two labels of differing materials on top of each other. This strengthens the stitching of the blue label, ensuring that it stays attached. Tests have proved this will double the lifespan of the blue label making them legal for far longer.

3. Store ratchet straps carefully

Although it may be tempting to just toss straps onto a pile after use, improper storage can lead to damage.

Rolling up straps and placing them in plastic bags, and securing them with a rubber band or zip tie, will help prolong their life. Our ProWinder is ideal for efficiently winding straps ready for storage and to prevent multiple straps from getting tangled together.

4. Avoid moisture with ratchet straps

Storing straps where they are exposed to moisture runs the risk of mould and mildew. Rainstorms or high humidity can encourage mould to form which can weaken the webbing on even heavy-duty straps. At CargoStop, we add a special type of PVA which helps stiffen the webbing and resists absorbency. This is very beneficial to users in wet weather as the more commonly used webbing can become heavy and is prone to jamming in the ratchet. If exposed to moisture, steel sprockets can also build up corrosion over time, making them hard to use, so keeping them dry at all times is recommended.

5. Avoid direct sunlight with ratchet straps

Sunlight should also be avoided during storage. Webbing can deteriorate over time when exposed to harmful UV rays from sunlight. Significant fading of the colour is a good indication the webbing is beginning to suffer damage from sunlight.

6. Avoid heat and friction with ratchet straps

Exposure to heat from any source, such as engines, exhausts or machinery can weaken ratchet straps. Friction from the strap rubbing against sharp edges or other objects during use can also wear or cause rips and tears.

The longevity of webbing can be greatly increased by adding CargoStop Wear Sleeves to reduce friction and using CargoStop Edge Protectors to protect against sharp edges.

CargoStop’s strong, yet lightweight, ratchet straps are ideal for a variety of applications. The fabric, with its side by side, zig zag pattern, allows for very little stretch and resists abrasions. Minimal water absorption prevents shrinkage and mould development, and they are also highly resistant to damage from UV rays and most common chemicals.

If you’d like to find out more about our long-lasting and economical ratchet straps, please get in touch on 01206 22 44 44.