Looking back on past generations of harnesses throughout the years it is interesting to see how things have changed. We have gone from barely protective body belts worn in the early 1900s around users’ waists to today’s full body harnesses that provide industry-specific features in the most comfortable and safe designs currently available.
The choice is enormous, however it is critical that we select the right harness for the job. Worker comfort, fit, and ease of use are key considerations in the selection of a full body harness that a worker may wear for extended periods during a work day, however there are other considerations to factor into the equation.
Full body harnesses distribute fall arrest forces across the shoulders, upper thighs, chest, and pelvis in the event of a fall. Fall arrest harnesses feature a dorsal D-ring for attaching to the connector such as a lanyard and may have other D-rings for use in work positioning, travel restraint, retrieval or ladder climbing. They are the only form of body support acceptable for fall arrest and should be selected based on the job task as well as the work environment. The use of Industrial Fall arrest harnesses and equipment requires some knowledge of the work to be carried out, the risks that are present and potential injuries that may transpire if an incident should occur.
Fall protection harnesses provide comfort and confidence, and directly affect the user's productivity. They come in general varieties that can be used in many applications, or may be specialised for specific uses within different industries.
The back D-ring is used for fall arrest.
A front D-ring enables connection to a permanent ladder system.
Positioning D-rings located on the hips are used with pole straps, and allow workers to use both hands.
A D-ring located on each shoulder strap facilitates upright retrieval from confined spaces.
Descent harnesses typically have a front D-ring for use with descent control devices. Suspension/rigging harnesses also typically include a front D-ring but often also have extras such as side D-rings for positioning.
The selection of a Fall Arrest Harness needs to be made by a person who is considered to be competent. AS/NZS1891.4 defines a competent person as: A person who has, through a combination of training, qualification and experience, acquired knowledge and skills enabling that person to correctly perform a specific task. A competent person can recommend the use and style of a fall arrest harness to most accurately provide protection to the worker as result of the risk assessment.
This is a general guide to full body harness selection, if you require further assistance or clarification reach out to a 3M Fall Protection Specialist or view the range of Full Body Harnesses. 3M Fall Protection offers a range of internationally accepted courses nationally recognised by ASQA, for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 445 867.