Are your recovery straps up to date with new safety legislation? After a two year transition period starting 1st January 2018 the Federal Government enforced a new standard for safe use of recovery straps which came into enforcement from 1st January 2020.

The main change is the labelling of the straps to alert people using them of the inherent dangers. The straps have not changed. A lot of people tend to have several perfectly good (and some not so good) straps at home or in the car. The temptation is to use these until they are no longer useable and they’ll probably work and give good service, just as they always have. However, the new legislation may mean that if you use the older straps and there’s an accident where someone is injured or damage is caused to property or the environment, you may be found liable and that can lead to big trouble.

 

Requirements of the Safety Standard

This safety standard applies to motor vehicle recovery straps.

The safety standard has been updated to amend the warning label and user instructions to include pictograms, instructions for correct use and clearer statements about the hazards associated with incorrect use (see the diagram).

The safety standard includes the following definitions:

gross vehicle mass, for a motor vehicle, means the maximum loaded mass of the vehicle as stated:

(a)  on the compliance plate, registration certificate or build plate for the vehicle;

(b)  in the handbook for the vehicle; or

(c)  in documentation for the vehicle available from the vehicle’s manufacturer.

minimum breaking strength, for a motor vehicle recovery strap, means the minimum load necessary to cause the strap to fail.

motor vehicle recovery strap means a strap, commonly called a snatch strap, for attaching to a bogged vehicle to tow it clear of the bogged situation.

 

The Required Label

The legislation describes the label that is to be attached to the Recovery Strap. It is reproduced below. It includes a small diagram showing that using a tow ball is not correct. It describes what cannot be used and what should be used to attach the strap.

 

Training

If you are unsure about using a Recovery Strap correctly, then it is a good idea to do some training. Four Wheel Drive Victoria conducts training that is both accredited and non-accredited and covers the safe use of recovery Straps. Check out the Four Wheel Drive website for more details https://www.fwdvictoria.org.au/index.php/training.