When using a ratchet winch hoist, one of the most important things to consider is safe use at maximum capacity. It is never advisable to use any winch or hoist above the maximum capacity, but it is not uncommon for equipment to be accidentally overloaded. When an overload condition exists, it is important to know that your hoist has the necessary safety features to protect you and your equipment if the load becomes too heavy for the hoist to handle safely. These safety features are known as overload protection.
When You Need Overload Protection
Industry standards require winches and hoists to hold loads safely above their rated capacity, but they are not designed to work above their maximum rated capacity. The more you overload your equipment, the less safe it becomes. Overload protection guards your hoist against catastrophic damage when the load exceeds your hoist’s maximum capacity. One of the most common ways for dangerous overloading to happen is lifting or pulling an object of unknown weight, such as a tree stump or large boulder. When you guess the weight of an object, your winch hoist may not have the capacity needed for the job. Without overload protection, overloading can cause your winch hoist to fail, damaging your hoist and equipment and possibly injuring you and anyone nearby, especially if a load is raised when it fails.
Types of Overload Protection
Fortunately, many ratchet winch hoists on the market offer various kinds of overload protection. One common form of overload protection is the use of bendable handles. Bendable handles are designed to alert users that a hoist is overloaded by failing before the hoist itself fails. These handles start to bend when the load applied to a winch hoist is greater than its maximum capacity, protecting the hoist from severe overload damage. The amount of overload required to bend these handles may vary between manufacturers and hoist models, so it is important to know your hoist’s specific limitations; Lug-All handles are designed to bend at 125-150 percent of the rated capacity.
Breakable stress links and shear pins offer another form of overload protection in many products. This type of protection alerts you to overload conditions by snapping suddenly and audibly when overloaded. It also allows the hoist to remain functional enough to be unloaded safely and easily and removed from operation. Like bendable handles, stress links and shear pins will fail before the hoist becomes critically overloaded, preventing personal injury and damage to your hoist and other equipment. Lug-All Web Strap Hoists are equipped with a stress link system that will break at 125 percent capacity before the fiberglass handle or the load-bearing parts of the hoist become overloaded.
Many products on the market also employ a double locking pawl system that prevents them from slipping when operating under load. This system is one of the most important features on a winch hoist because it keeps the hoist functional if it becomes overloaded. When the other protective mechanisms break to alert the user that the hoist is over its maximum capacity, the double pawl mechanism locks the load in place, preventing the hoist from suddenly releasing and allowing the user to reduce the load safely. After the load is reduced, the broken handle, stress link, or shear pin is usually easy and inexpensive to replace, saving you the cost of purchasing an entirely new hoist.
Not all products offer comprehensive overload protection, so it is important to know what protective features your hoist offers before using it. All Lug-All Come Along Ratchet Winch Hoists are equipped with a stress link system, shear pin, or bendable handle to protect you from possible overload damage and injury. For safe use, always be sure to replace the broken stress link, shear pin, or handle before using your hoist again.