Bungee cords in modern form (hook, elastic cord or strap) fulfill the timeless need to secure or tie down loose objects. Compared to other fasteners (i.e., ropes, chains, ratchet straps, screws, nuts and bolts), the advantages of a bungee cord are its weight, simplicity of use, shock absorption and ability to secure objects without causing marks or other damage to surfaces. Bungee cords can take the form of a stand-alone consumer product, but are also incorporated into the design of other consumer, commercial, industrial, or aviation products or machines. For example, bungee cords have now been integrated into the design of cargo netting for motor vehicles and aircraft.
The downside to a bungee cord is typically its limited load capacity as compared to other fasteners. Also, there is the obvious hazard of uncontrolled release. Today’s general utility consumer products are self-regulated by the bungee cord industry. The industry requires that bungee cord consumer products be sold with a warning tag containing statements similar to the following:
- Warning: Do not remove this label.
- Wear protective eyewear such as safety glasses when stretching, fastening, or releasing hooks.
- Do not stretch the cord more than 50% or this could cause failure of the cord or hook and result in serious eye or other injury.
- Inspect cord before use.
- Do not use if cord is frayed or hooks are bent or damaged.
- Contracts like a rubber band. Do not stretch cord toward or away from you to avoid being struck by hooks. Pull to one side and keep your face and body away from the rebound path.
- Do not use to hold large or flat surfaces which react to wind, like plywood or mattresses.
Additionally there may be design-specific warnings for bungee cords on the packaging. For example, an adjustable length cord will have instructions regarding how to adjust the length, and an open hook cord will have warnings or pictures about nose-hooking.
Despite these warnings, injuries and other damage resulting from bungee cord use continue to occur. ARCCA’s experts have the multi-disciplined background to assist with cases or claims related to bungee cord accidents, including containment and energy analysis, path of travel, biomechanical analysis of injuries, warning and instructions, and foreseeable or unforeseeable use/misuse.