Bungee cords are useful but potentially hazardous. The Bungee cord is made up of numerous individual strands of elastic material, bound in place by a braided fabric cover. Elastic, when stretched, stores a lot of potential energy. When slack, it's harmless, but under load, there are serious hazards if that load is suddenly released. The rebound of a Bungee cord can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Not only is there a hazard from the flailing elastic cord, but more importantly from the metal hook on its end. The most common injuries from this sudden release of tension are to the eyes, including penetrating injuries that can cause loss of vision. Even if no loss of vision occurs, patients with this sort of damage to their eyes are at risk for future glaucoma.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Bungee cords
Inspect the cord and its hook carefully prior to each use. Don't use if there are any signs of damage or wear to the cord or the hook, or if the hook has become loose on the cord. If the cord feels limp, or as if there's a gap inside the cover, chances are some of the internal elastic strands are broken, and it will be unsafe to use.
Wear safety glasses, goggles or an approved face shield whenever you're working with Bungee cords. Inspect the point where you plan to attach the hook, making sure it's a solid fixture with no way for the hook to slip off. Also make sure the cord will not pass across anything sharp or rough that might damage it.
Read the safety load limit for the cord, and do not attempt to stretch it beyond its rated point. Note that some types have plastic clips instead of metal hooks; these will not hold as great a load.
Be sure your hands are free of grease, oil or anything else that may cause you to lose your grip as you pull the cord into position.
Keep your body to one side, out of the path of any rebound should the cord slip.
Pull the cord slowly across your load and securely attach the hook to the attachment point you've chosen. Don't let go until you're certain the hook is secure.
Tips and warnings
- To avoid premature wear, store Bungee cords loosely.
- Avoid storing Bungee cords in extreme heat, because they'll deteriorate faster.
- Regular inspection of Bungee cords is very important to ensure safety.
- Common reasons for failure include the hook coming off the cord, the cord slipping out of the user's hand, the hook becoming straightened, and breakage of the attachment point.
- Don't use Bungee cords on loads that are subject to the force of wind.
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