With falls being the leading cause of death in construction sites and in work sites where people are required to operate at elevations, employers should make sure that they adopt appropriate safety measures to minimise incidents. Besides keeping other safety measures, such as guardrails or safety nets, in place, employers should make sure that their workers are equipped with full-body harnesses that form an integral part of fall protection system. The successful use of fall protection systems are largely dependent on workers’ ability to appropriately inspect and use the equipment and hence, employers should make sure that they provide the necessary training to their workers.
A safety harness should be inspected before use as every harness comes with its own wearable life that may vary depending on the number of times it is used and the conditions that it has been subjected to. A harness may show noticeable signs of damage and it is a good idea to replace it with a new harness to eliminate mishap possibilities. As a matter of fact, harnesses need to be inspected frequently by a competent person who can detect corrosions and suggest suitable actions.
If you are responsible for inspecting full-body harnesses, you may consider the following tips to determine if a harness can be used further:
- The grommets are subjected to heavy wear because of recurrent buckling or unbuckling. Loose or broken grommets are warning signs that may call for a replacement decision.
- Inspect for cracked, distorted or broken D-rings besides inspecting the D-ring back pads. The D-ring, if it is good health, is expected to spool easily.
- Check if the outer and the center bars of the friction and mating buckles appear to be straight. Inspect for distortion at the attachment points of the center bar.
- Create an inverted U with the webbing. Check if you are able to spot cuts, broken fibers, burns, chemical damage, or pulled stitches. Check on both the sides, throughout the length of the webbing. Closely inspect the paint and solvents in the webbing and rope. Some varieties of paints contain solvents and drying agents that may induce chemical damage or restrict the movement of fibers.
- Closely inspect the attaching buckles. Check for cut fibers, distortions or any abnormal wear.
Harnesses come in different styles and hence, you should always read the instructions to understand how they can be used in the right way.