The Road Ahead : June July 2008
Snatch strap safety V ehicle recovery straps, commonly referred to by off-road drivers as snatch straps, are one of the most commonly employed items of off-road recovery gear. Now there are new safety standards for them. Correctly used, they are safe and effective for extracting bogged vehicles. The straps are made from a heavy-duty nylon or polyester type webbing. When the recovery vehicle slowly and steadily applies a towing load via the strap to the immobilised vehicle, the strap, due to its elastic nature, stretches. The energy temporarily stored in the strap helps to ‘snatch’ the vehicle out. The energy stored in the straps and the loads applied to them during recovery can make snatch straps very dangerous items if not used correctly, especially for bystanders. There have been fatalities as a result of their improper use. To help ensure user safety, the Queensland Government has amended fair trading legislation to require all snatch straps to carry certain information, including brand name and supplier details, instructions for correct use, breaking strength and strap selection relative to intended vehicle GVM (gross vehicle mass). From April 1, 2008, the mandatory information, printed in English, is required on the packaging and in a separate accompanying document. If you’d like some technical advice, visit racq.com.au or call RACQ’s Technical Advisory Service on 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 (members in country areas). torquing point WITH JOHN EWING RACQ VEHICLE TECHNOLOGIES From October 1, all straps supplied in Queensland must also carry markings that are stitched on or otherwise permanently attached detailing speci? c consumer information and a prescribed warning statement. Information includes identi? cation of the Australian maker or supplier, a batch code or serial number and the minimum breaking strength. It also has to recommend that the minimum breaking strength should be between two and three times the vehicle’s GVM and that the strap must be suited to the GVM of the lighter of the two vehicles involved in the recovery. Incorrect strap selection relative to GVM could see the strap fail or, if too heavy for the job, the recovery points ripped from the vehicle to become deadly missiles. The mandatory warning statement highlights the danger of not using the strap in accordance with instructions and of using vehicle attachment points such as tie-down eyes and towballs, which are not designed for recovery. We expect similar standards will soon be adopted nationally.
April May 2008
August September 2008