ATV winch cable snaps, improper spooling blamed

Safety Alert Type: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An employee ended up getting stuck and required the winch to pull themselves out while operating an ATV on a reclaimed road in spring conditions. During the extraction, the winch cable snapped. Luckily no injuries resulted.

The cable snapped at a pinch point caused by a previous user re-spooling the cable incorrectly.

Potential Hazards

  • Compromised integrity of cable strength properties, which could result in the cable breaking, snapping back and striking the ATV operator and others in the vicinity.
  • Potential lacerations or punctures from frayed individual cable wires.
  • A nonfunctioning winch in the case of an emergency or when stuck.


Learnings and Suggestions: 

Preventative Actions

  • Ensure pre-trip inspections are thoroughly conducted before using an ATV to check that the cable had been re-spooled properly and is in good repair (no pinch points or frayed wires).
  • Keep clear of the line-of-fire whenever operating a winch.
  • Always re-spool winch cables properly by spooling it side to side while under tension so it loads evenly and ALWAYS wear gloves.
  • All newly purchased ATVs will be equipped with nylon winch cables going forward because they do not “kick back” should they snap.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Tyson von den Steinen, Canadian Forest Products Ltd (250) 962-3229 Tyson.vondenSteinen@canfor.com 

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