Winching equipment can be very dangerous if not maintained, repaired or used correctly. There are a number of safety issues that need to be considered when using a winch.
First of all you should always wear gloves when handling or rewinding the rope. The wire rope may have burrs or slivers from broken strands that can cut your hands.
You must ensure that the vehicle is secure when using the winch and then make sure that after moving an item, it is then secured, you must not rely on the winch to hold a load in place for any extended period of time, as the winch does not have a locking mechanism.
You should not apply weight to the winch when it is fully extended. Instead you should make sure that there are at least five complete turns of rope on the drum before the load is applied and car must be taken to see that the rope is re-spooled correctly.
You must never put your finger through the hook while re-spooling the last few feet of rope because if your finger gets trapped in either the hook, or the rope, you could loose it. For the same reason, you should also never guide the rope onto the drum with your hands while it is under tension. You must always keep your hands and body away from the fairlead when using the winch.
Do not hook the wire rope back onto itself because this causes a lot of strain that can break strand in the wire rope and in turn weakens the overall strength of the wire rope.
Pulling durations should be kept as short as possible because the winch is not designed for constant use. As a rule, do not pull for more than one minute if the load is near the maximum rated load for that winch. If you find that the motor becomes too hot to touch, you should stop it and let it cool down for a few minutes before continuing. In the case of the motor stalling, you should cut the power to it immediately.
It’s a fairly obvious safety instruction, but do not winch items that exceed the winches maximum rated load. Exceeding the rated load of the winch is not only unsafe, but will also significantly shorten the operating life of the winch. You should also avoid using any inappropriate attachments in an attempt to exceed this capacity.
Try not to pull for too long from an extreme angle, this will cause the wire rope to pile up on one side of the drum, where-ever possible, you should line the winch up as straight as possible to the direction of the load.
Do not use the winch without the rope fairlead fitted as you run the risk of injury or winch damage.
Pay attention at all times while operating the winch. As with all machinery, you should not use it when tired, stressed, or under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication.
Always unplug the switch when it is not in use.
When carrying out servicing or repairs, you must use only identical replacement parts, the use of other parts will void your warranty.
Do not move the vehicle while the rope is extended and carrying a load. Pulling it in this way may cause the wire to snap.
Be sure that the winch is securely bolted to a vehicle that is capable of holding the load.
You must always use the correct coupling equipment when attaching the wire to the load. And do not try to lengthen the rope with inappropriate extensions.
The winch is not designed to be used as a hoist, all loads should be horizontal. You must not use the winch to hoist people or hoist loads over people.
This short safety guide cannot possibly cover all situations and conditions, so the person using the winch must use their common sense and use the winch in a safe manner. Always read the safety and proper use guidelines that come with the winch.