Web Strap Winch Hoist: Operating and Rigging

Before using your hoist, it’s always important to read and follow your manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure worker safety and hoist longevity. With that being said, we have included some tips (below) about proper winch hoist operation, load handling, and rigging when using a web strap winch hoist.

Operating Your Hoist:

 Most winch hoists have three modes of operation: pulling and tensioning, lowering/backing off, and free release.

Pulling or tensioning requires workers to rotate the reverse lever toward the drum to engage the U-frame pawl against the ratchet teeth, before operating the handle to lift the load or apply the required tension.

Lowering or backing off requires a load of 15 pounds or more. Lowering the load is similar to pulling the load, only workers must rotate the reverse lever away from the drum to move the U-frame pawl away from the ratchet teeth. Once the U-frame pawl is away from the ratchet teeth, workers must move the handle until the U-frame pawl engages a ratchet tooth. Once the pawl engages the main spring and forces the main frame pawl to disengage, applying handle pressure in the same direction will release the main frame pawl. But, applying less pressure to the handle and load will lower one ratchet tooth at a time for each stroke of the handle.

Free release allows workers to pull out the web strap to its required length/distance. But, it’s important to note that free release will not operate under a load. To release the web strap, workers should rotate the reverse lever away from the drum to move the U-frame pawl away from the ratchet teeth. Once the U-frame pawl is away from the ratchet teeth, workers can press the trigger or main frame pawl to hold the main frame pawl away from the ratchet teeth and pull out the strap to its required distance.


The first thing you should know about a web strap ratchet hoist is that it can act as a hoist or a winch. The hoist itself will operate in any position: right-side up, upside down, angled as a hoist, or horizontally as a winch. The lifting and pulling power of your hoist will depend on how it is rigged. For instance, rigging your hoist with a double-line will provide the full-rated capacity, whereas using a single-line only provides half-rated capacity. The benefit of the single-line is that it provides twice the lifting distance and operating speed.

It’s also very important to rig the hoist so that it will hang freely and move from side-to-side. If the frame of the hoist is jammed out of line it is most likely subjected to undue stress from uneven loading, making it unable to move sideways. Sideways movement is necessary to enable workers to wrap the strap evenly on the drum.  Hooks should be placed where the point of contact is in line with the center of the shank or eye.


If your hoist will not lower or back off automatically, there are several potential issues: the nylon web strap on the drum is wedged or jammed, the spring is either not holding the pawl against the teeth (lifting/pulling) or it’s not holding the pawl away from the ratchet teeth (lowering/ backing off). Other potential issues include a twisted U-frame, a fatigued spring, pawls wearing unevenly, dirty or corroded shafts, both pawls unengaged at the base of the ratchet teeth (in both lifting and lowering cycles), and the U-frame pawl unaligned with the ratchet teeth. (Click here for additional information about ordering parts online.)

For more information about troubleshooting tips, check your manufacturer’s user manual or read next week’s blog post about individual troubleshooting techniques!