Cable Socks - Technical Guide for Safe Cable Pulling Using Cable Socks

By Chris Dodds on 8th January, 2016

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Cable Socks - Technical Guide for Safe Cable Pulling Using Cable Socks

Cable socks, sometimes called cable stockings or cable grips provide an efficient method of supporting cables for pulling and laying into open-trench or duct.

Cable socks are re-usable tools (subject to inspection before re-use) and are not confined to cable applications but basically can be used to support or pull any cylindrical object within their grip and load carrying capacity.

Standard cable socks are manufactured from high tensile galvanised and stainless steel wire rope or Kevlar.

A skilled, hand woven construction process, coupled with individual product inspection throughout manufacture ensures a high quality product for reliable and long lasting application. 


Cable Socks - WL & FOS

The Working Load (WL) of a cable sock depends on the Factor of Safety (FOS) applied to the Minimum Breaking Load.

For example, where the operational risk is considered to be normal, it is recommended that a FOS of 5 be applied, for high risk operations a FOS of at least 10 should be considered.

The Approximate Breaking Load stated on any certification, the recommended Factors of Safety, and any implied or stated fitness for purpose, are all only applicable when the cable sock is as new and unused.

There are many factors that the person using the cable sock must take into consideration when trying to calculate a safe working load as it is impossible to guarantee a suitable safety factor when there are many variables which change from cable pulling application to application.

In addition, before using any cable sock, the user must carry out a full assessment of its suitability for the proposed application, and the level of operational risk involved, including taking account of:  

  • size of the cable sock, in relation to the size and shape of the gripped cable
  • stability of the object when gripped
  • grip surface of the cable 
  • anticipated path of movement, including possible obstructions
  • resistive force of the object being moved
  • minimum-breaking load (MBL) of the cable sock
  • condition of the cable sock
  • suitability and compatibility of any attachments used
  • environment / operating conditions

When selecting the cable sock users must allow for a 20% variance in break loads and, if there is ‘twist’ in the cable, a suitable swivel link must be used. 

When the correct cable sock is selected, cable installation through ducts, conduits and trenches is made considerably easier. The cable sock adds little to the overall diameter of the cable and ‘free passage’ is normally available through sheave blocks and pipes.

Cable socks can often be used on a ‘new for old’ cable replacement by applying two grips on a ‘back-to-back’ basis with a solid link or swivel in between grips, allowing the old cable to be used to pull through the new replacement.

Swivel links can be used to allow for reduced torque build-up induced by the cable pulling equipment and inherent lay in the cables themselves, whether LV, MV, HV or EHV. Lace up cable socks can be applied anywhere along the cable length, preventing overloading of the cable.


Cable Socks - Typical Applications

  • Overhead house service cables
  • Portable tool supply cables  
  • Portable compressed air lines
  • Conduit risers
  • Moveable hydraulic hoses
  • Cable strain relief
  • Oil support cables
  • Marine applications
  • “Guy rope” adjusters
  • Fibre optic cable applications


Type of Cable Socks

Single Eye Socks - available in single or double weave.  

Double Eye Socks - standard support sock, with double eye. Available in single or double weave.

Lace Up Socks - cable sock for fitting at points along the length of a cable.

Open Ended Socks - socks designed to enable two cables, hoses or ropes to be connected for pulling or supporting purposes.

Single Eye Socks (Triple Weave) - high strength cable socks with heavy duty shoulders, for stringing or pulling-in non-insulated conductors on long, high voltage transmission lines, or other high load applications.

Cable Socks


Note : Cable socks must not to be used as primary lifting devices.


Contact Thorne & Derrick for sales and support of all Cable Pulling & Laying Equipment for low, medium and high voltage power projects. T&D are the largest UK distributor of Cable Pulling & Laying Equipment.

Cable Pulling Equipment


  • Further reading :

Cable Laying & Pulling - Installing LV-HV Cable In Duct (Part 1 of 2

Cable Laying & Pulling - Installing LV-HV Cable In Trench (Part 2 of 2) 

What Is The Maximum Distance For Ease of Cable Pulling of 11kV Cable From One Manhole To Another? 

Video : Emtelle GS150 Fibre Blowing - Blow 115 Metres Of FTTx Cable In A Minute  



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Category:  Cable Laying & Cable Pulling

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