Painting winch rope.

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 20:59
ThreadID: 103707 Views:4212 Replies:10 FollowUps:18
This Thread has been Archived
Always interested in safety in the bush because small accidents can be very disruptive of a trip. Winch ropes are hard to see from a distance so I propose to paint the rope with a high vis paint, has anyone considered how to prepare a steel rope without effecting the lubrication? I know I can buy a plastic rope, but as I say I care about safety so will stick with the steel. Eric
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Sutto - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 21:17

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 21:17
in the interest of safety you should be using a dampener on you winch cable/rope. Ours is bright orange and is easily seen.
AnswerID: 516194

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 21:33

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 21:33
A correctly used synthetic rope is safer than wire
AnswerID: 516195

Reply By: Ross M - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 22:31

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 22:31
If winch ropes are hard to see at a distance, why it that a problem?
If you are as close as the anchor point or the vehicle then you aren't at a distance and you can see the rope.
It is unwise to be near a steel cable under tension and definitely not in line with it.
Purely because the vehicles situation means a winch and a cable are in use, aren't the people on site aware of this happening and at a safe distance?

Is someone likely to come cruising through between the anchor and the vehicle and not see the cable?

As mentioned above, the use of a blanket type dampener is advised and increases the safety or decreases the risks involved.

I can't see it being a problem unless you are winching at night and people are crossing the cable while under tension, not recommended.
Sorry, but I haven't considered painting a cable.
Ross M
AnswerID: 516197

Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 22:32

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013 at 22:32
G`day Eric,

" but as I say I care about safety so will stick with the steel."
I suggest that if you care about safety that you change from steel cable to orange coloured Dynema Rope from a reputable manufacturer.

I would think that a painted steel cable would need a fair bit of attention after each use to clean it and possibly repaint it, depending of the type of use it got.
Then of course over time it will get fairly grotty while on the drum unless you have a cover for it.


AnswerID: 516198

Reply By: Batt's - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 01:41

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 01:41
What sort of distance are we talking about 100mts 500mts or more who finds it hard to see the on coming traffic ? Will they not see that there are vehicles in the area doing something maybe a flashing light on the roof and some signs. For the amount of times you use a winch and the situations you would use them in I hardly see where painting the rope would help. Save you money and use a reflective blanket as suggested. It could attract unwanted attention in town as well from thieves.
AnswerID: 516200

Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 09:27

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 09:27
I think you're a bit to safety conscious, are you a safety officer?

Much like all the rest have said..... plus it's not like you're going to have 20 or more people standing around whilst winching and it's not likely you will be doing 10 winches a day.

Like all health and safety officers, they try to find a solution for a problem thats not even there and in the process; confuses all involved and in some cases increase the chance of risk by manufacturing an environment where everyone thinks they are safe.

Maybe you should educate the people around you first...... if you have a vicious dog, train the people to be cautious around the dog, not try to train the dog and don't tell the people.
AnswerID: 516205

Follow Up By: kev.h - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 10:38

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 10:38
Hey Olcoolone
I like your safety officer comment
Would you believe out W.H.S. officer at work (road construction gang) have banned the use of snatch straps, because they are elastic, making them too dangerous to use for recovering bogged vehicles and that bogged vehicles should only be recovered using a chain
He got real dirty when I laughed at him and told him he was an idiot
Apparently I don't have respect for authority
FollowupID: 795520

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 13:55

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 13:55
Your safety officer obviously has never seen a chain break I would get every one together and refuse to use chains and make him do all of the recoveries by himself and stay well clear on the grounds of safety lots of safety officers have very little practical experience. Did you tell him chains are not designed to take a shock loads it can stretch the links where snatch straps are solely designed for that purpose. Also when chains are dragged on the ground and visable signs of wear can be seen they have to be de rated.
FollowupID: 795534

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:41

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:41
Yeap I have to deal with safety officers day in and day out at construction sites, quarries and mining sites.

Some are really good others haven't got a clue what or how we do something but they are more than willing to offer advice.

A few come to mind regarding hard hats....

One place that does a lot of container handling requires us to wear hard hats in case a container falls, the safety guy was not happy when I said "no matter what hard hat you want me to wear I'm still going to look like a turtle with only my arms and legs showing if a container did fall.......

Next was when I was working under a Caterpillar D11 and the safety office called me out from under machine threatening I would be thrown off site if I didn't wear my hard hat whilst working on the machine.....

Had one who wanted me to arrange for $4000 worth of scaffolding to do a job 5 foot of the ground that will take 3 minutes.

There was one who told me the factory bonnet lift stays were not right and I would have to build some sort of device to secure the bonnet whilst it was lifted .... it was on a Caterpillar articulated dump truck, it had two rams 50mm in diameter and a safety lock.

And standing with the passengers door open on my field service vehicle after finishing a job ( the site was closed for the day) servicing a machine; I was doing paperwork and about to leave when I got asked about my hard hat and safety glasses...... told the I was finished and about to leave.... they said it was no excuse as when on this site you have to wear safety glasses and hard hat (bear in mind the site was closed, there were two machines and my vehicle..... nothing around me for at least 800m and nothing above).

Had another site that stipulated every vehicle has to have a drivers airbag or you could not drive it on site..... the site speed limit was 25Kph and airbags won't deploy if under 40Kph.

FollowupID: 795548

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:19

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:19
I hear you Olcoolone. The safety industry is just that, an industry that they have created and common sense has been lost in the process.
I am all for safety on work sites but it has become ridiculous and a massive unnecessary cost burden on business
FollowupID: 795562

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:33

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:33
A couple of yrs ago one of my work mates took his safety glasses off outside the crib hut to clean them with one of those disposable wipes he was chipped by the OCE he asked so how do I clean them when they are dirty so I can see clearly he was just told again you can't take them off there obviously is no answer for this.
FollowupID: 795573

Follow Up By: Penchy - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 08:30

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 08:30
some good examples of safety going a bit far olcoolone. I dont have any examples of my own to share as I dont work in a very safety regulated industry. But I would think that the approach of a safety crew is to assume that everyone is an idiot. Its generally when people do dumb things is when they get hurt. When you mentioned the scaffolding for a job 5ft above ground, you can still hurt yourself falling 5ft - well I could anyway. Considering how many injuries occur from people falling off ladders, 5ft is more than enough.
FollowupID: 795587

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 09:50

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 09:50
Batts, a chain breaking loses its stored kinetic energy far quicker than steel cable or rope. A chain requires constant tension before it can whiplash , a steel cable will whiplash back to its anchor point whereas a chain loses its stored energy a drops to the ground.....
FollowupID: 795658

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 10:39

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 10:39
We use very similar ropes in industrial lifting and hauling and have done so for many decades.

In industrial lifting it is considered undesirable and unhelpful to paint " gear" in general.
In general it actually produces more problems that it solves.

Appart from the fact that, It would be almost impossible to get paint to stick to wire rope even in the short term.

Flexible steel wire rope depends on having an absorbent core soaked in lubricant and over its life this lubricant is dispensed into the strands of the rope....a flexible steel wire rope in healthy condition should have an oily coating on each and every strand.
This makes it hard to get paint to stick for starters.

Even IF you could get paint to stick by cleaning the outer surface of the wire rope, wire rope stretches quite a lot under load and this would give the paint a pretty hard time.

There are coloured wire ropes out there, but they use pretty clever methods to do it.
Some that i know of are more akin to dying than painting and some are done strand by strand.

As others have said, the problem you are quite rightly seeing is dealt with in other ways both in industry and in off road practice.

As has been mentioned, the first and most significant improvement you can make to your winch is fitting it with a good quality purpose made synthetic winch rope.

It will nearly halve the weight of your winch.
Provide several significant safety improvements, due to its lighter weight and significanly less stretch.

In addition, there ARE well thaught out and accepted safety procedures for managing the risks associated with winches and winch ropes.

In both industry, vehicle towing and 4wd recovery, we use flags and markers on our ropes.
In 4WD recovery our flag and our damper are often combined into one item.

A pretty well standard winch rope damper can be purchased from a range of suppliers for between $25 & $75, depending on how fancy and how ell you shop.

If you have a winch or a snatch strap you should have at least one of these on board and you should use it every time you roll out a rope or strap.

Persoanally I carry two.

Please make yourself aware of the established safety procedures surrounding winches and straps used in 4wd recovery.
Adherance to those is what will save your life, not painting your rope.


AnswerID: 516207

Follow Up By: Shaver - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 13:11

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 13:11
I agree with Bantam, you would never get paint to stick to it, only if it was severely rusted. As a former Rec Mech winch ropes are usually run completely off the Drum every now & then & run back on under a light load with a rag dipped in a mixture of Kero & Oil held around the SWR. This lubricates the rope & keeps corrosion at bay. Also remember maximum winch capacity only applies to the 1st layer of SWR & reduces as more cable is laid on.
FollowupID: 795532

Reply By: Eric Experience - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 21:31

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 21:31
Thanks Gentlemen
What prompted this was a a recovery I was doing with a vehicle over the side. The winch is on a tow truck at about eye level. 2 young blokes came around a bend on dirt bikes ignoring the witches hats and very nearly hit the rope. I did try plastic ropes but it cost me a lot when the plastic rope broke and dropped a $100,000 car. Plastic ropes need to be protected from UV and Ozone as it makes them brittle. Anyone who runs a plastic winch on a 4x4 should take it of the drum and store it in a light proof box. I can not do that because I use my winch several times a day. Eric.
AnswerID: 516320

Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 08:11

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 08:11
you can buy these and hang them off the rope with either minsup clips or cable ties.
LINK Reflective mining droppers

They work well and are used extensively underground.

You can also temp spray the wire winch rope with marker paint that will be fine for the pull. Just keep a can in the truck for such times. Used on winder head ropes for indication of magnetic stripe location it stays there for up to 6 months. That rope will go over the friction drum 400+ times in 24 hours.

Link Marker Paint

Good to see you are concerned for others.
FollowupID: 795654

Follow Up By: Batt's - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 17:59

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 17:59
Could be me but maybe you should have mentioned it was on a tow truck in the first post that kind of changes things a bit.
FollowupID: 795684

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 10:33

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 10:33
I am so inspired. I am going downstairs to paint my wheel barrow so that I won't trip over it.

An industry built upon itself . . . Common sense lost. All to true. And it has destroyed a person's responsibility to look after themselves.

I like the one that doesn't allow you to clean your glasses because you are not allowed to take them off to clean them. Perfect example of power gone mad.

What a chuckle.

And I don't wear thongs mowing the lawn either.

While I am on this subject; the paddle pop stick that shows "Slow down". To what speed must we slow? We slowed down to 30 and this big fat slob is still waving and going mad.

Phil (without high visibility vest)
AnswerID: 516331

Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:45

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:45
just read the post above and you will see where the poster was coming from.

As for the cleaning the glasses, those idiots that say things like that don't last long.

I have worked from the bad to the good and onto the ugly. I have seen enough accidents to realise we needed change. As Eric said above. He just wanted to stop people from hurting themselves. For me that is a big thumbs up.

Yep, we can bag safety and complain. BUT it now has stopped many accidents and that is proven in the stats.

Yes! There are cockhead safety officers out there, but hell there are some good practical dudes doing a great job.

FollowupID: 795698

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:56

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:56
I read all of them. You won't convine me that we are douing it properly. We just go overboard. Too much emphasis on the TV about compensation as well.

At no time do I bag safety but I do believe that as an adult (shut up!!) it is my responsibility not to stick my hands in the fire, not your responsibility to put a shield around my fire so that I do not get burnt. It is the overpowering and overbearing application that cheeses me off.

As it is my responsibility not to trip over any snatch strap or winch rope or wire. My responsibility mate!

It is simple. If I am involved then I keep my wits about me and my eyes open. If not involved then I get out of the way. How then would I trip over his plain old dirt coloured rope if I am doing the right thing.

I could go on but as my wife (ex company OH&S rep) says "You are beating your head against a brick wall".

I feel that we are being treated as children as if we do not know what "hot" or "sharp" or "explosive" means.

I asked in a post once what "Slow down" on the lollipop signs means. What speed is "Slow" as posted on the sign? Slow down from 40 to 30 and still get sworn at!!!

FollowupID: 795719

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:59

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:59
Hullo Phil

I am in agreement with much of what you state about adults taking responsibility for their actions. In many ways we have become a "nanny state", with unintended negative consequences.

Having said that, most people have no idea about risk analysis, nor do they recognise and comprehend the dangers inherent in some situations that you and others on this forum are familiar with.

What I do take issue with, however, are your comments about the operation of "Stop/Slow" banners at roadwork sites. They are part of a team trying to provide a service to the public, be it construction or maintenance of our roads, often in difficult conditions - hot, windy, dusty, wet, cold, etc - and on potentially quite dangerous work site.

Operating the banner is not the most sought after job on site. It is often onerous and, in my experience, they are quite often abused, threatened (including being driven at), ignored and so on. If people are working in an unprotected situation, the generally applied speed limit is 25 kph. So if you are still doing 30, heading straight toward him/her with an expression on your face that says "this big fat slob is p.ssing me off", then he/she may well yell out to you to drop your speed a bit more.

For spray sealing work, the delay can be 15 minutes or more. If I am near the beginning of the queue, I have on occasion taken the opportunity to get out of my vehicle and have a chat with them. Not unsurprisingly, they are at first weary, expecting to be abused. But once they know what I used to do for work, the stories they tell about some instances of driver behaviour are nothing short of shocking.

But the last laugh can be with them - if police are in attendance somewhere along the job, a quick radio call is all that is needed - ignoring the "Stop" banner, for example, brings an on the spot fine of $256.

FollowupID: 795734

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:28

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:28
Ah Dear me. People just can not read and then get a bee in their bonnet. I said the "Slow Down" or just the "Slow" sign. Not the Stop one. I don't mind waiting.

Try again Andrew.

FollowupID: 795736

Follow Up By: Rockape - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:40

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:40
I don't know where you are coming from. The poster said he had a winch rope at head height and wanted to stop people running into it after he had a scare.

I don't really care if people do what ever they like, as long as they don't bring my safety into the equation, and I am afraid this is why we have rules for dumb and dumber. Same as you had them in the army for the handling of weapons.

Just one little instance. We had some runaways where I worked. Rules were engine off, 1st gear, wheels into the wall and hand brake on.

3 runaways. One was a loaded explosive ute including dets. It was left running with no handbrake on. It rolled down a decline and turned over. End result was everyone had to chock their wheels and it didn't matter where you were. All because dumber and co endangered others.

The safety rules are there to stop litigation, but also to reduce people getting hurt. Yes sometimes they are over the top, but hell in the last 15 years I didn't have to be concerned about raindrops falling on my head half as much. All because of safety.

I could keep going and going on the list of mates and workmates that are either dead or will never work again because others failed them.

The reason for many of the hard and fast rules is, people don't follow them. Example is helmets and glasses. If they make a blanket rule it is black and white if you don't have them on.

Believe it or not after an incident, and I have sat through many of these. They try to stop it happening again. Not with rules but by engineering it out or removing the person from danger.

One of those is the use of tele remote loaders that cost miners a fortune. It removes the operator from the danger. Many were killed by rocks coming out of stopes or being crushed by the machines they were controlling locally with remote packs.

Yes! There are cockhead safety officers, but I am happy to put up with them any day, over what used to be.

Maybe we should get the bloke that was caught smoking in an underground coal mine to be the safety officer. She will be right mate.

Now for a laugh. I had a lady traffic controller shout at me 40, 40 which I was doing so I yelled back. Darling you are closer to 60.

FollowupID: 795756

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 18:40

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 18:40
Mate All I can say is that I will take care of myself and mine. I don't need any high visibility jacket wearing, flashing light fanatic to do it for me.

Funny how Andrew said "the generally applied speed limit is 25 kph". Never heard that or even saw it in writing. 40 is good enough for school kids and they are less under control than a bulldozer.

FollowupID: 795759

Reply By: yarda - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 00:03

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 00:03
Hi Eric,
Check out marine coating suppliers for heavy shipping, I can't remember the manufacturer ( they were from Norway or Germany I think) but you can get a trick " paint like" coating for cables, white in colour that dries to a non tacky flexible finish. The cable looks like it is plastic coated, very trick.
AnswerID: 516468

Follow Up By: Eric Experience - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 21:43

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 21:43
Thanks for the advice. I think white on a gravel road would not be a huge advantage. Have you seen any high vis colours? My original question was how to prep the cable without damaging the lubricant, My thoughts are to use a piece of foam pipe insulation dipped in prep wash and sliding it along the cable. Then using another piece of insulation to apply the paint. Eric
FollowupID: 795899

Follow Up By: yarda - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 22:08

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 22:08
I'd just use a few rags lightly damp with a non volatile solvent to remove the outer lubrication. If the rags are wet and or the solvent too volatile the solvent will penetrate the rope.

Another idea is to use a brightly coloured sleeve on the cable, I have a few meters of rubberised lay-flat hose on my plasma cable to use as a chafe protector, also it works a treat to cover the cable drum when spooled on to stop uv light damage. You could use 3 or 4 meters of large diameter lay-flat in a bright colour to place on the cable and hold in situ with a trace rope as required. If you slit it length ways you can pop it on and rip it off in a jiffy as required.
FollowupID: 795902

Sponsored Links