Safe Recovery Tips

In Articles, Technical by Glyn DemmerLeave a Comment

Safe Recovery

Well we have heard of a few accidents (non fatal) and the net is full of You Tube video clips of recoveries going wrong so we got together with our friends at SecureTech to develop some guidelines for safe recovery. Obviously we also looked at areas of individual responsibility when doing this. What we have here is a “work in progress”, we will obviously continue to refine it and even develop some video content for posting down the line when we have a finished product. As an All Terrainer you are welcome to comment using the forum section, we would love your input!

Purpose statement

The recommendation of standards for off-road vehicle recovery is aimed at reducing the risk of injury, fatalities and damage to vehicles.This information is for people who use, make, import, distribute or sell recovery equipment, as well as those training in the safe use thereof.

Regulatory framework

Whilst it is not envisaged that these standards be embodied in legislation the use and sale of straps, ropes and all forms of recovery equipment should comply with;

·         The Consumer Protection Act

·         The Safety at Events Act

·         The Occupational Health & Safety Act

Responsibility for safety

All parties in the supply chain, such as manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, second-hand dealers and hire agencies, are responsible for the safe usage of the products they supply and for providing adequate information concerning the care and maintenance of these products, and where so required, adequate aftersales service and support especially for winching equipment.

In the training environment, the Instructor is ultimately responsible for safety.

In terms of the actual recovery process, the elected ‘leader’ will be responsible for the safe recovery operation, the allocation of any responsibilities and the safety of others.

Desired Information


  • Brand name or supplier’s logo
  • Name and contact details of the manufacturer, importer, distributor or supplier
  • Description of product
  • Minimum breaking strength in metric units-where applicable
  • A recommendation that the minimum breaking strength of the strap should be between two and three times the vehicle’s gross vehicle mass or GVM.


The product should come with instructions/suggestions;

  • Purchasers should consider completing a nationally recognised four-wheel drive training course, or contact a four-wheel drive club for advice on choosing and using the strap
  • Owners must not use a strap or rope for lifting or conventional towing
  • Users must check that the strap, rope or cable is not damaged or worn
  • The strap’s strength and stretch reduce when the strap is saturated or torn and this should be noted
  • When in use one should drape a recovery blanket over the strap, rope or cable during use to stop it rebounding in the event of a failure (dampening effect).
  • People should stay at a safe distance from the cars during the recovery process (at least 1.5 times the length of the outstretched strap, cable or rope) and never stand in the path of a car.
  • Information concerning the care and maintenance of the product
  • Manufacturer/agent’s contact details


Permanently fixed information

The following information must be stitched or attached permanently to the strap:

  • Type of equipment (i.e. snatch or tow strap)
  • The name or logo of the manufacturer, importer, distributor or supplier
  • Strap batch code or serial number
  • Strap minimum breaking strength in metric units
  • A recommendation that the minimum breaking strength of the strap should be between two and three times the vehicle’s gross vehicle mass (GVM)
  • That the equipment used must be suited to the GVM of the vehicle being recovered.


  • Tow rope/strap –
  • Kinetic rope/strap –
  • Rated Shackle –
  • Recovery point –
  • Minimum breaking strength: the minimum load necessary to cause the strap to fail.
  • Gross vehicle mass or GVM: the maximum loaded mass of a motor vehicle as stated on the registration certificate, or the manufacturers model identification (engine compartment), or per the handbook linked to the specific model.

Supplier responsibility:

Suppliers should familiarize themselves with the mandatory safety standards for the products they supply.

User responsibility (prior to effecting a recovery)

  • Assess situation
  • Attend to injured
  • Secure vehicle
  • Identification of a leader (skills, competency)
  • Assess available equipment
  • Decide on equipment and method of recovery
  • Allocate responsibilities
  • Safety in respect of bystanders (safe radius in the event of a failure)
  • Correct equipment
  • Dampening of ropes, straps and cables
  • Inspect straps rope and cables for any kinks or tears that may cause a failure
  • Professionally fitted recovery points
  • Do not use normal tow balls as attachment points
  • Alloy rated Bow shackles are recommended
  • Proper safety procedure applicable to the type of recovery
  • Prepare terrain and vehicles
  • Decide on hand signals to be used

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