Each winching circumstance is different from another, but all have the potential to cause serious personal injury. So to mitigate that risk, it is important for everyone who uses winches to become conversant with the essentials of safe winch operation. Below is a general summary of what winch users can do to ensure safety is maintained when they are moving weighty loads.

Inspect equipment prior to use

Improperly installed winches are a major source of safety hazards. For that reason, it is important for winch operators to always perform a visual inspection of winch installation before operating the winch. Loose winch installation must be tightened up immediately and any frayed cable or wire rope must be removed and replaced before use.

Clear the site

Clear the winching area of any objects that may lead to physical obstructions and cause someone to fall or trip and get hurt during winch operation. In addition, all individuals who are not directly involved with the winching operation should be prevented from accessing the job site when work is ongoing. They can be kept a safe distance away using placards prohibiting entry of unauthorised persons into the site and warning them of possible dangers.

Do not wind the wire rope onto itself

It is never a good idea to wind the wire rope onto itself, as this damages the rope. Instead, the wire rope should be prestretched and tightly wound around the drum in advance of being used. This decreases chances of "binding", which causes the wire rope to become loosely wound and then get damaged.

Use the right anchor

Selecting a suitable anchor is an important step in ensuring the safety of winch operation. The anchor chosen should be able to hold out against the load, and the tie-downs should not slip.

Use suitable safety gear

Like in any other work where safety risks is always present, operators should put on the right protective equipment in all winch situations. As it is the hands that will be doing all the pulling or lifting, it is important for operators to put on safety gloves. Slip hooks equipped with safety latches should also be used to keep the load secured onsite. In addition, it may be necessary to use damper blankets to help absorb the impact of any broken cable.

The above-highlighted safety tips are not meant to substitute the operator's or user's manual. Winch operators must read, understand and follow all manufacturer's instructions if they want to ensure safe and efficient operation.