Safe recovery techniques with snatch straps etc

Author: Rob Burton/Roadsafe   Date Posted:28 July 2016 

Safe recoveries with Recovery/Snatch Straps etc

All the equipment mentioned in this blog can be purchased HERE on our website.

Roadsafe Offer a great range of Recovery straps, with each one individually designed to suit its purpose, so you can have the right strap for the right application. The Roadsafe Recovery straps are tested to certified standards, fully stamped and tagged rated, come complete with fully sewn eyes and protective sleeves.

General Information
A Recovery Strap is a heavy-duty nylon or polyester strap, used in vehicle recovery situations, that can stretch under load & spring back to its original length. The combination of the recovery vehicle pull and the tension in the strap creates a ‘snatching’ effect that can pull a vehicle free from being bogged. When used in accordance with the following guidelines, vehicles may be recovered with minimal damage to vehicles and equipment, and most importantly minimal risk of injury to people.
People intending to use recovery straps should consider completing a nationally recognised four wheel drive training course or contact a four wheel drive club for comprehensive advice on the proper selection and use of the strap

Key Information and Safety Recommendation

• Check the strap and its packaging for a stated Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS).
• It is recommended that the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) of the strap be between two and three times the vehicle’s gross mass (GVM), and that the strap be suited to the GVM of the lighter of the two vehicles used in the recovery process.
• The strap must not be used for lifting or conventional towing.
• Persons intending to use the strap must ensure that the strap is not damaged and is in a usable condition.
• The strap’s strength and stretch are reduced when the strap is saturated (by up to 20%).
• An object such as a recovery damper, heavy bag or blanket must be draped over the strap during use to reduce any unintentional rebound of the strap.
• While the strap is being used, people outside the motor vehicles who are involved in the recovery process must:

1. Stay a safe distance from the motor vehicles, recommended as at least 1.5 times the length of the unstretched strap away from the vehicles
2.Never place 
themselves in the path of the vehicle performing the recovery.

WARNING — Always follow product instructions. It is important to correctly attach the motor vehicle recovery strap to a motor vehicle. A standard tow ball or vehicle tie-down point is not designed for this purpose and may result in the strap or a vehicle component detaching from a motor vehicle and striking and seriously injuring or killing a person. Only attach the strap to a vehicle recovery point or device that is suitably rated for use with the strap. Incorrect use has previously resulted in serious injury and death.

Personal safety and the protection of property are paramount when considering 4WD recovery.
• Never exceed the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) of the strap or the Working Load Limit (WLL) of the shackles, recovery points or any other hardware used in the recovery.
• Only use equipment that is properly rated, and in serviceable condition, for the particular situation. If in doubt, do not use it.
• Never attempt to recover a vehicle without all the necessary equipment
• Ensure that only the people required for the recovery are present. All spectators should be kept at a safe distance.
• Ensure there are good communications maintained between participants and bystanders. This is best achieved by use of UHF radio.

Selecting the right recovery strap
It is very important to ensure you use a strap that is correctly rated for the recovery you are undertaking. A strap with a breaking strength that is too light for the recovery might snap under load. A strap with a breaking strength that is too heavy for the recovery might not stretch properly, placing stresses on the recovery points and possibly leading to damage or injury.

The Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) of the strap should be between two and three times the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of the lightest vehicle used in the recovery process. Please be aware that the Recovery Strap will be under greater load if the vehicle is bogged in mud, sand or heavily loaded. If the GVM is not stated on the vehicles identification plate or registration certificate, it may be available from the owner’s handbook or vehicle manufacturer.

Roadsafe 4WD recovery straps come in a range of high visibility safety colours. Different strap types are instantly recognisable and come with warning tags that include information such as strap type, rated capacity, material type and precautions.
Note – due to the nature of synthetic fibres, recovery straps do require ‘rest periods’ between use to cool down and return to their original length and capacity. Be aware that excessive pulls on a recovery strap over a short period of time can cause heat build up and lead to possible failure.

Keeping people safe
Only the drivers of the stranded and recovery vehicles should be in the vehicles during a recovery. Ensure all other people stay at least 1.5 times the un-stretched strap length away from the vehicles and adjacent to the line of the recovery. Never stand between vehicles connected by a Recovery Strap.

Setting up and Making the Recovery
• Assess the situations of the stranded vehicle. If the stranded vehicle has bottomed out, clear out under the body so it rests on the wheels. The recovery vehicle should be placed within reach of the snatch strap and if possible directly in line with the direction of pull. If this is not possible due to insufficient length, two straps may be joined using the correct method. Never join snatch straps with a bow shackle, as this may become a lethal missile in the event of strap breakage.

• The strap should be unrolled and connected to a secure recovery point on each vehicle, ensuring that the strap is not twisted. Approximately 2-3 metres of slack strap should be left between the stranded and recovery vehicle. Do not connect to a tow ball or tie down point. Check your vehicle handbook for recovery point locations or use correctly rated and fitted aftermarket recovery points.

• To reduce the risk of vehicle damage and personal injury, hang a suitable damper over the Recovery Strap approx. midway between the vehicles. This will restrict the whipping action of the strap should it break.

• Check all connections, and clear all bystanders to a safe distance of at least 1.5 times the length of the unstretched strap away from vehicles and adjacent to the line of recovery. Never allow bystanders to be in line with the recovery.

• With communications maintained between all participants, the recovery vehicle should gently accelerate to take up the slack and proceed on, allowing the kinetic energy of the strap to pull out the stranded vehicle. For best results the stranded vehicle can assist by trying to drive at the same time.

• If the vehicle is not recovered on the first attempt, check under the stranded vehicle for obstacles. Reset the slack in the Recovery Strap and try again with a little more speed by the recovery vehicle.
Note – Excessive speed or a continual jerking action whilst using a Recovery Strap may result in damage to the recovery point, chassis and driveline of both vehicles.

• Where proper use of the Snatch Strap is unsuccessful, use an appropriate sized recovery winch to recover the stranded

• Once free, the recovered vehicle should take care not to run over the Snatch Strap, as this could result in damage
to the strap.

• Do not attempt to remove the strap until both vehicles are stationary and secured.

General care and Maintenance
• Never allow your straps to rub against sharp or hot surfaces.
• Avoid twists or kinks in the webbing.
• Always coil your straps when not in use.
• Clean your straps with warm water with a mild detergent, allowing them to dry thoroughly before coiling for storage.
Foreign materials such as sand and grit can permanently damage strap fibres.
• Before and after use, check the full length of the straps for nicks and cuts. If damaged, the strap should be replaced.
• Never use the strap as a lifting device.
• Inspect all bow shackles, before and after use, for damage. Pins that are difficult to turn suggests that the shackle has been
overstressed and requires replacement.

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