A safety harness is a personal protective gear that prevents one from falling mostly from heights. It can be made from either, a rope or a cable. There are various environments and activities that require one to put on a safety harness. It can be worn both in a professional environment as well as in a recreational environment provided there’s a possibility of any kind of fall. In relation to the environment, the safety harness varies. There are several types for several environments according to the most likely form of fall expected.
Since the harness is a type of personal preventive equipment, it is a governed by a regulatory body. It is, therefore, necessary for one to be trained before putting on a harness. Only those trained with qualified persons are allowed to install and put on a harness. Training may help one gain confidence and even reduce the likelihood of probable accidents.
When to Put on a Safety Harness
- When working in a construction company on a structure that is 6 fit and above. The worker should put on a fall arrest system to prevent them from falling in holes as recommended by OSHA.
- When working as a window cleaner especially on skyscrapers. There’s a possibility of one to sleep on spilled soap and fall.
- When working as a theatrical fly crew member. This people deal with huge loads at very high heights.
- When doing bungee jumping just in case one gets disjointed.
- Working as a lineman since power lines are mostly very high.
- When climbing mountains just in case a fall happens.etc
Types of Safety Harness
Safety harnesses are not only used by human beings but animals as well. There are basically two types of harnesses;
- The fall restraint systems. These ones prevent the user from reaching the risky point where they could easily fall. The harness and the lanyard are attached while the other side is attached to the railing. The railing is lengthy enough to reach the risky area but the lanyard is not hence minimal chances of getting to fall. However, this is not very effective and there is a probability of injuring the spine. It is, therefore, recommended for not very high distances.
- Fall arrest systems. Also known as full body harness. Instead of risking with the fall restraint systems, these ones are preferred especially when dealing with dangerous heights. These systems are able to mitigate some risks that may be fatal.
Putting on The Safety Harne
The safety harness must be in compliance with the regulatory bodies such as OSHA. The manuals directing the users must be in compliance with industrial standards like ANSI Z359.0-2007 of the Fall Protection Code.
Parts of a Safety Harness (Full Body Harness)
Knowledge of the parts may help the user to put on the safety harness correctly since one will know exactly which part to be connected with which part. One also gets to know and appreciate the importance of each and every part.
- Shoulder straps- length of the webbing over the shoulder
- Chest strap- length of the webbing through across the chest
- Torso Adjustment- For firm fixing the torso while maintaining user’s comfort
- Tongue buckle also called quick-connect fastener
- Thigh strap- length of the webbing through the thigh
- Dorsal D-ring- The ring is for connecting device such as a lanyard
- Back Plate- acts as a connector
- Sub-Pelvic Strap- length of the webbing through the pelvic
- Inspection also the ID label
- Warning also instruction label
- Standards label
- Lanyard Parking Attachment
- Lanyard parking label
- Strap retainer
- Load indicator
Some models may include the following features; shoulder padding, waist belt and a hip D-ring or Positioning D-ring
Steps For Putting on The Safety Harness
Before the harness is worn, it has to be inspected to ensure all the mentioned parts are available and in correct states.
- First the user should get hold of the dorsal D-ring to ensure all straps are in place.
- If any of the straps such as the waist or leg straps are firmly fixed, they should be loosened and fixed once again.
- The straps should be passed over the shoulders to ensure the D-ring is right at the center of the back.
- The leg straps for both legs should be firmly fixed to the connector. The waist strap should as well be attached, that is, if it’s present.
- The chest strap should be attached so that it is located right in the middle of the chest. This should be about 6 to 8 inches beneath the trachea but above the sternum. The straps of the shoulder should be pushed against the body slightly to ensure for the comfort of the user.
- Once all the fixing has been done, all connections should be adjusted to ensure comfort as well as freedom of movement.
- Proper fixing and adjustment of the strapping ensures user safety and reduces the risk of falling which could be fatal.
Limitations of Using the Safety Harness
The safety harness has to be used alongside parts that are compatible with them. Incompatibility could compromise the safety of the system.
The equipment may be affected by chemicals and any harmful conditions. They should, therefore, be kept away from these conditions.
According to OSHA, users can only set up the equipment after proper training from qualified persons.
Suggestively, heat resistant materials should be considered for making this equipment since the synthetic materials need protection from heat sources.
Safety harnesses are very essential protective equipment for both professional and recreational activities. People working in environments with any likelihood of falls should never overlook this equipment. Cases have been told of construction workers falling off a building under construction, some losing their lives. If only the management of such workers ensured proper protection of their workers by providing them with the safety harnesses accompanied by professional trainings, such cases would be mitigated.