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Safety harnesses are a necessity in fall protection and should meet ANSI and OSHA standards. Choose your fall protection harness from different sizes, styles, and materials that work for construction, tower climbing, arc flash, wind energy, and more. We also have accessories and add-ons for your harnesses to achieve maximum comfort, safety, and convenience while on the job.
A fall protection harness (or safety harness) is a piece of PPE that helpsr protects workers who are working at heights from injuries or fatalities should a fall occur. They’re used in combination with self-retracting lifelines or shock-absorbing lanyards that connect the worker’s body and harness to an anchor point. Safety harnesses can fit around the shoulders, torso, and thighs to properly secure workers while they’re working as well as in the event of a fall. They’re also designed to spread the force of the fall across the body to avoid trauma injuries and keep workers upright while they’re suspended. In short, they’re an essential part of any work where you’re at heights or could fall onto a much lower level, such as confined space work.
This is one of those questions that has a lot of variables involved in the answer—including the manufacturer, the work you’re doing, and what the harness has been exposed to. Like all safety products, fall protection harnesses and other fall protection equipment have a certain lifespan, after which it needs to be replaced. This lifespan can often be found in the instructions the manufacturer includes with your harness or other equipment. These instructions will also include other information you’ll need to know to understand the features of your harness, how to care for it to maximize its service life, and under what conditions you need to replace it.
Fall protection harnesses might not have a specific expiration date and could instead have a suggested lifespan statement. This is a good guideline, but not a guarantee—just because the manufacturer says the harness could last five or even ten years doesn’t mean that you should use it exactly that long. If your worksite conditions are particularly harsh, your fall protection equipment might be subject to more wear and tear at a faster rate and therefore will need to be removed from service earlier. If the equipment has already passed its written expiration date, it’s time to replace it regardless of its condition.
Finally, do not reuse a harness that has been involved in a fall—discard and replace it immediately! Cutting off important parts of the harness is a safe way to insure that the harness is not re-used inadvertently.
Fall protection harnesses do extremely important work protecting against falls from dangerous heights. This makes inspecting them before every single job vital to safety. Regular inspections need to be done by a competent person to ensure that it’s still safe for workers to use, and these inspections should be done more frequently when you’re working in harsher conditions. Inspections should look at the material and hardware for fading, pitting, or other signs of damage. If the harness has been exposed to any fumes, moisture, or daylight that could break down nylon fibers or otherwise compromise it, it might be best to replace it.
If your fall protection harness can’t pass a pre-shift inspection, retire it from use and replace it.
Trauma suspension straps are one of the extra safety features that fall protection harnesses can add that will make a huge life-saving difference should a fall occur. If a worker falls, they can suffer suspension trauma, which can be potentially fatal in less than 30 minutes, so it’s best to avoid leaving workers suspended in the air without standing or sitting for any amount of time. Suspension trauma relief straps are loops that are attached to the safety harness beneath a worker’s feet that allow them to: stand while suspended, bend their knees and muscles to balance on the strap, relieve pressure, and improve circulation in the legs and hips. These actions can all help prevent serious suspension trauma injuries. They’re a great part of a complete fall prevention and rescue program and used in conjunction with a full body harness. They’re often sold as pairs and fit most harness styles, sizes, and brands, but if you have more questions about compatibility, we’re happy to give you recommendations.