Mechanical Wire and Cable Pullers

Mechanical Wire and Cable Pullers


Pulling wire or cable through conduit can place large amounts of strain on the back, shoulders, and wrist.  In addition, workers often pull conduit in awkward positions and while working overhead.  Wire and cable pulling machines have electric motors that pull wire or cable for the worker.

The first step in using a wire puller is to attach a pull rope to the wire.  After the pull rope is securely fastened, the rope is fed through the wire puller and wrapped around a spool at the base of the device.  Most wire pullers have built in pulleys for work at different angles and heights.  Other wire pullers need to be used in conjunction with pulleys to redirect the force. At this point, the worker can turn on the motor and carefully feed the rope off the spool as it pulls wire through the conduit.  Many pullers have booms up to 12 feet long that can be adjusted for overhead and underground work, e.g., through manhole covers.

There is a large variety of wire and cable pullers on the market, depending on the application. Pulling forces vary from 1,000 to 10,000 lb, and pullers weigh between 50 and 400 lb.  Most pullers are available with two speeds: a faster speed for lighter pulls and a slower speed for heavier pulls.  Wire and cable machines have three motor options: a built in motor, a custom motor that attaches to the puller separately, or an attachment to an electric drill.

Many cable pullers set up in less than 10 minutes and can be installed and operated by 1 person. 

Porta Pull 4000 FXP Wire Puller and Cable Tugger

Risks Addressed:

Overhead work can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as shoulder muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of the tendons; or rotator cuff tears, which is a rupture of a shoulder tendon.  The mechanical wire and cable pullers can help reduce overhead work because it uses mechanical force to wind wires and cables.

Stressful hand and wrist activity can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of elbow and wrist tendons; or carpal tunnel syndrome, which is compression of a wrist nerve, resulting in finger numbness and loss of hand strength.  The mechanical wire and cable pullers can help reduce stressful hand and wrist activity by eliminating the need to manually pull wires and cables.

How Risks are Reduced:

By using a mechanical device to perform the forceful part of pulling wire, the worker avoids forceful exertions in awkward or overhead postures. 

There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of mechanical wire pullers. However, safety and health experts believe there is a reduction in risk. Independent studies have shown an association between MSDs and risk factors such as forceful hand exertions and awkward postures (Bernard et al., 1997). Forceful pulling has also been associated with increased risk of low back injury. According to Hunter et al. (2009), pulling large and heavy cables over long distances and in awkward locations can present a high risk for developing MSDs. There is also an increased risk of slipping or falling during the exertion.

Effects on Productivity:

Mechanical Wire and Cable pullers will increase productivity


Dan Anton, PT, PhD – Eastern Washington University

Hazards Addressed:


Porta Pull
To obtain information, visit Wire and Cable Pullers or contact 1-888-242-7942

Cable Tuggers and Pullers
To obtain information, visit Cable Tuggers or contact 1-818-970-1702

Cable Organizer
To obtain information, visit Cable Pullers or contact 1-866-222-0030

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.