Moving loads short distances across a yard, long distances on the back of a flatbed truck or lifting loads into the air requires some way to secure the load on the pallet, skid or bed. The most common way to do this is with the use of ratchet tie down straps.
There are different sizes of these versatile straps, including the width and length of the strap and the amount of weight they are rated to support. Typically the wider the strap, the more weight the tie down can hold, but this can depend on the age and condition of the strap.
To keep your ratchet tie down straps in the best condition, there are a few mistakes to avoid. By misusing the strap or failing to follow basic maintenance recommendations, there is a greater risk of strap failure, which could result in the shifting of loss of a load.
It is important to ensure that the tie down straps are flat across the surface and the sides of the load before tightening. With the ratchet handle it is very easy to snug the straps down to hold the load secure, but when there are twists, it creates areas of ridges that rub, causing wear on the straps. While the strap twist will not cause damage to most cargo, it can wear the strap through with vibration and movement, risking the chance of failure.
Putting ratchet tie down straps away wet or simply piling them in the corner of the equipment shop or on the machine will result in the molding of the fabric of the strap. Nylon, polyester and other similar materials will not mold or rot, but they also should be dried completely before being rolled or folded and put away.
Inspecting all straps and tie down after each use is also a simple way to ensure your straps are always in good condition. By identifying straps that are worn, frayed or cut you can quickly replace them, ensuring you are using only good quality tie downs for every application.