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Cargo Control - Technical Resources


Recommended Operating Practices

Mechanical Considerations
All winches shall be installed so the user can see the pawl to ensure proper engagement. Additionally, the winch shall be positioned so the pawl drops into the ratchet wheel by gravity. Winches shall never be
installed so the user cannot see the pawl engagement or in a position where the user shall hold the pawl to engage the ratchet tooth. Portable winches shall be removed and stored when not in use. All winches, except portable and sliding styles, shall be welded to the trailer frame. Minimum welding requirements are to be specified by the manufacturer.
Winches shall be attached to vehicle structural members. If winches are installed in track, the track shall be attached to vehicle structural members.
When tightening or loosening winches, always maintain a firm grip on the winch bar. Never release a winch bar without checking the pawl to ensure that it is fully engaged between ratchet teeth. Releasing a winch bar without the pawl being properly engaged can cause serious injury to the user or bystanders. The use of non-slip handle winch bar specifically designed to tighten or loosen winches in recommended.
Set screws on portable winches are designed to position the winch while the tiedown assembly is tightened and shall be snug tightened only. Overtightening of screws may cause bracket to bend, weakening the winch and causing it to fail.
Winches shall not be loaded in excess of their Working Load Limit.
Only winch bars designed to be used with winches shall be used to tension and release tiedown assemblies. “Cheater Bars” shall not be used with the winch bars.

Environmental Considerations
Winches are subjected to dirt, mud, snow, ice, road salt, cleaning solutions, etc. And therefore require inspection and cleaning to insure they are always in operating condition prior to each use.
Winches that can be removed from the vehicle, when not in use, should be stored in a dry location.


Type of Inspection
A. Initial inspection — before any winch is placed in service it shall be inspected to insure that it is the correct winch, as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Also verify that all moving parts operate freely and the pawl drops into the ratchet wheel by gravity.
B. Frequent inspection — this inspection shall be made by the person operating the winch prior to each use.
C. Periodic inspection — this inspection shall be conducted by designated personnel.
Frequency of inspection shall be based on:

  1. Frequency of use
  2. Severity of Service Conditions
  3. Experience gained on the service life of winches used in similar applications.
  4. Inspection should be conducted at least quarterly.

Winch Replacement
A winch shall be removed from service if any of the following conditions exist:
a. Reel bar is not free to rotate.
b.Pawl is not free to drop into the ratchet wheel by gravity.
c. Winch has been deformed due to overloading.
d.Winch bar holes are deformed and will not permit use of standard winch bar.
e. Ratchet wheel is distorted.
f. Pawl/pawl pin is distorted.
g.Weld on winch is cracked.
h. Weld of winch to vehicle is cracked.
i. Winch track shall be replaced if it is deformed in the area that transfers the winch load to the track.
j. Other apparent defects which cause doubt as to
the strength of the winch.

Inspection Records
Winch inspection records should be established  by the user.
Repair of Winches
No repairs of the winch shall be permitted.