Originally published 04/25/2017
Load binders play an important role in construction, but we don’t give them much thought until we need one. There are several types of load binders. Generally, they have hooks attached to chains on either side of a sturdy metal lever and are used to tie down and secure equipment and materials for transport and delivery. Load binders can be very dangerous. Accidents can occur quickly and often result in serious injury.
Here are some safety tips to follow when using load binders:
- Inspect a load binder prior to use. Look for excessive wear, bending, cracks or damage. If in doubt, don’t use it.
- Keep your head and body out of the path of the load binder’s handle because it can suddenly spring back and causing serious injury.
- Wear a hard hat, gloves and eye protection whenever you are tightening or loosening a load binder.
- Never tighten or loosen a load binder while standing on the load being secured or loosened.
- When tightening or loosening a load binder, make sure that you have firm footing and are not standing on ice, snow, loose rocks, oily surfaces, etc.
- After you have secured the load with a load binder, make sure the lever handle is in the locked position and tie the handle in place with wire or chain when done.
- Use an open hand (do not grip the binder handle) when releasing a load binder. Keep your body out of the way and push the lever open.
- Be especially careful when you are releasing the tension, as the handle can snap back quickly. As equipment and material are transported, they can shift causing an increase in tension on the load binder. This extra tension will be suddenly released as you loosen the load binder, which will cause the lever handle to jump.
- Do not use a pipe to help you apply extra leverage to a load binder handle, unless the manufacturer has approved or supplied that pipe as a handle extender. These pipes can fail suddenly, or slide off suddenly, causing injury to yourself or nearby co-workers.