Safety Harness: What Is It And How to Use It
A safety harness, also known as a fall arrest system, is a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect employees from falls. This type of equipment is mandatory in many industries, including construction and manufacturing. This blog post will discuss the different types of safety harnesses and how to use them safely. We will also provide tips for inspecting your safety harness before use.
A safety harness is a device designed to protect a person from falling or being pulled into the air. The harness is made of solid material, such as nylon, and worn around the torso and over the shoulders. It is often used by construction workers, climbers, and window washers. The safety harness prevents a person from falling more than a few feet and hitting the ground hard. It also protects against being dragged into the air if an accident occurs.
For example, if a worker falls off a scaffold, the safety harness will keep him or her from hitting the ground and injuring him or her. The harnesses are adjustable and can be tightened or loosened as needed. They are also available in different sizes to fit different people.
Falls are one of the most common causes of serious injury in the workplace, and many falls can be prevented by wearing a harness. Harnesses are essential in the construction and other industries where workers work at height. In addition to reducing the risk of injury, wearing a harness can also give workers a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing they are protected in case of a fall. Overall, harnesses are essential safety equipment that can help protect workers in hazardous environments.
When To Use Safety Harness?
Safety harnesses should only be used alone when conventional protection, using guard rails, is no longer practicable. Such conditions occur when falling 2 m or more from an open edge is possible. The following points must be considered when safety harnesses are to be used:
- The length of the fall only is reduced by a safety harness. The worker may still be injured due to the shock load applied to him when the fall is arrested. A free fall limit of about 2 m is maintained to reduce this shock loading. Lanyards are often fitted with shock absorbers to reduce the effect of shock loading.
- The worker must be attached to a secure anchorage point before they move into a dangerous position. The lanyard should always be attached above the worker whenever possible.
- Only trained and competent workers should attach lanyards to anchorage points and work in safety harnesses. Those who wear safety harnesses must be able to undertake safety checks and adjust the harness before it is used.
Safety Harness Inspection
Three levels of inspection are recommended for safety harnesses as follows:
- The user undertakes a pre-use check at the beginning of each shift to ensure there are no visible or surface defects.
- A detailed inspection was undertaken at least every six months. However, for frequently used equipment, this should be increased to at least every three months, particularly when the equipment is used in arduous environments (e.g., demolition, steel erection, scaffolding, steel masts/towers with edges). The results of the inspection should be formally recorded.
- An interim inspection is also an in-depth, recorded inspection. It may be needed between detailed inspections because the associated risk assessment has identified a risk that could result in significant deterioration, affecting the safety of the lanyard before the next detailed inspection is due. The need for and frequency of interim inspections will depend on use. Examples of situations where they may be appropriate include risks from arduous working environments involving paints, chemicals, or grit blasting.
Any defects discovered by these inspections must be reported to the employer immediately.
Different Types Of Safety Harness
A safety harness is essential safety equipment used in various settings, from construction sites to amusement parks. Many types of safety harnesses are available on the market, each designed for a specific purpose. Here is a look at some of the most popular types of safety harnesses:
- Full Body Harness: A full body harness is the most common type of safety harness and is typically used in construction or other industrial settings. This type of harness wraps around the entire body and includes back support and straps that go over the shoulders and through the crotch.
- Chest Harness: A chest harness is similar to a full-body harness but does not include back support. This type of harness is often used in sports or other activities with a risk of falling.
- Waist Harness: A waist harness is a type of safety harness that goes around the waist and is typically used in climbing or other activities with a risk of falling.
- Seat Belt Harness: A seat belt harness is a type of safety harness used in vehicles designed to keep occupants in their seats during a crash.
- Shoulder Harness: A shoulder harness is a type of safety harness that goes over the shoulders and is typically used in sports or other activities with a risk of falling.
Many types of safety harnesses are available on the market, each designed for a specific purpose. Choose the right harness for the job, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.
Different Parts and Components Of Safety Harness
There are many different parts and components of a safety harness, and it is essential to understand how each one works to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
- Webbing: The webbing is the part of the safety harness that goes around your body. It is made from a strong material that can withstand a lot of force and is designed to keep you secure in the event of a fall.
- Anchorage Connector: The anchorage connector is the part of the safety harness that attaches to a fixed point, such as a building or a piece of equipment. This is what keeps you from falling to the ground in the event of a fall.
- Buckles: The buckles on a safety harness keep the webbing in place. Various buckles can be used, and they are all designed to work together to keep the webbing securely in place.
- D-ring: The D-ring is a metal ring attached to the safety harness’s webbing. It is used to connect the harness to a safety line or other piece of equipment.
- Lanyard: The lanyard is a rope or cord that connects the safety harness to an anchor point. Using the proper lanyard for the job is essential, as some lanyards are not strong enough to support a person’s weight in a fall.
- Body Wear: Bodywear describes clothing worn over the safety harness. This can include various items, such as a vest or a shirt with reflective strips.
- Connecting Device: The connecting device is the part of the safety harness used to connect the various parts of the harness. This can be done with various methods, including snaps, hooks, or D-rings.
- Chest strap: The chest strap is a strap that goes around the chest and helps to keep the webbing in place.
- Waist belt: The waist belt is a belt that goes around the waist and helps to keep the webbing in place.
- Leg straps: The leg straps go around the legs and help keep the webbing in place.
These are just a few of a safety harness’s different parts and components. It is essential to understand how each one works to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
Difference Between Safety Harnesses, Air Bags, and Safety Nets
Many safety devices are designed to protect people in the event of a fall, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a look at the difference between safety harnesses, airbags, and safety nets.
A safety harness is a device worn by a person to help prevent them from falling. Harnesses are typically made of solid materials such as nylon or Kevlar, designed to distribute the force of a fall evenly across the body. This can help to prevent serious injuries, and it can also help to keep a person from being pulled down by their own weight.
Safety nets are widely used to arrest falls of people, tools, and materials from a height, but competent installation is essential. Correct net tensioning is important; specialist companies are usually available to fit nets. The popularity of nets has grown since the Construction Regulations came into force in 1996 and the subsequent advocacy of their use by the HSE.
Nets are used for roofing work and some refurbishment work. Nets, however, have a limited application since they are not suitable for use in low-level construction where there is insufficient clearance below the net to allow it to deflect the required distance after impact. Nets should be positioned so that workers will not fall more than 2 m in case they hit the ground or other obstructions.
Airbags are used when it is either not possible or practical to use safety nets. Therefore they are used extensively in domestic house building or when it is difficult to position anchorage points for safety harnesses.
When airbags are used, it is essential to ensure that the bags are of sufficient strength and the air pressure high enough to ensure that any falling person does not make contact with the ground. Only reputable suppliers should be employed for the provision of airbags.
Air bags or bean bags are soft landing systems that protect workers from the effects of inward falls. Other possible solutions to this problem of the inward fall are the use of internal scaffolding or lightweight ‘crash deck systems.
How to Use Safety Harness?
When working at heights, it is essential to use a safety harness to help prevent serious injury in the event of a fall. There are many different types of safety harnesses available on the market, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for the specific job you will be doing. Here are some tips on how to use a safety harness:
- Read the instructions that come with your safety harness carefully before use.
- Inspect the harness for any damage before each use.
- Make sure that all of the straps and buckles are secure and properly adjusted.
- Attach the safety harness to a sturdy object, such as a beam or column, before putting it on.
- Adjust the straps so that the harness fits snugly but not too tightly.
- Do not use a safety harness if it is damaged or has missing parts.
- Never tie knots in the straps of a safety harness.
- Be sure to remove the safety harness when you are finished using it.
- Store the safety harness in a dry, cool place from direct sunlight.
- Check the expiration date on the safety harness and replace it if necessary.
Following these tips will help you use your safety harness correctly and prevent serious injury in a fall.