Safety Standards

Safety Standards

In by Glyn DemmerLeave a Comment

Purpose statement

The recommendation of safety 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 safety standards be embodied in legislation the use and sale of straps 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 after sales service and support (thinking winches here..).

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 (is this done by MKG?) .


The product should come with instructions/suggestions;

  • consumers 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
  • consumers must not use the strap for lifting or conventional towing
  • consumers 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
  • consumers should drape a recovery damper, heavy bag or blanket over the strap rope or cable during use to stop the it rebounding in the event of a failure
  • 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) 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 iro 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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