Fall Protection Harness Safety Standards & Certifications

If you’re like most people, the words “fall protection” and “safety” probably make you think of boring work safety protocols. But did you know that there’s an entire industry dedicated to making sure that people don’t fall off of things? That’s right, there are companies out there whose sole purpose is to make sure that people don’t fall off of buildings, bridges, and other high places. But they must follow certain safety standards when producing their safety gear.

What are the different types of fall protection systems?

The most common type of fall protection system is a personal fall arrest system (PFAS). A PFAS is an individualized system used to arrest an employee in a fall. It typically consists of an anchor, a lanyard or energy-absorbing lanyard, and a body harness. Other types of fall protection systems include work positioning systems and travel restraint systems.

What are the different types of fall protection harnesses?

There are several different types of fall arrest harnesses on the market. The most common type is the full-body harness. This type of harness is designed to distribute the forces of a fall evenly over the body, and typically includes a back D-ring for attaching to a fall arrest lanyard or lifeline.

Other types of fall protection harnesses include:

Seat Harnesses: Seat harnesses are typically used for work positioning, confined space entry/exit, and rescue operations. They provide support to the worker in a seated position and typically include a D-ring on the back and another on the front for attaching to different anchor points.

Chest/Shoulder Harnesses: Chest/shoulder harnesses are typically used for work positioning or as part of a personal fall arrest system (PFAS). They provide support to the worker in an upright position and typically have a D-ring on the chest and shoulder straps for attaching to different anchor points.

Work positioning belt/seat with shoulder straps: Work positioning belts with shoulder straps (also known as “work positioning belts”) are commonly used by arborists, window washers, and other workers who need to be positioned away from an edge. These belts have D-rings on the waist and shoulders for attaching to different anchor points.

What are the different safety standards and certifications for fall protection harnesses?

Some of the most common standards and certifications include ANSI/ASSE Z359.1, ANSI/ISO 12401, CE EN 360, and NFPA 1983.

There are three main organizations that provide safety standards and certifications for fall protection harnesses:

  • The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) – ASSE sets the safety standards for fall protection harnesses, while ISEA provides independent third-party certification.
  • The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) – ISEA also has different requirements for fall protection harnesses than ASSE and OSHA.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – OSHA is a federal agency that enforces these safety standards.

All three organizations have different requirements for fall protection harnesses. For example, ASSE requires that fall protection harnesses have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN), while OSHA requires a minimum breaking strength of 4,000 pounds (17.8 kN). ISEA requires that fall protection harnesses have a minimum breaking strength of 6,000 pounds (26.7 kN). Certified by all three organizations will meet or exceed the safety requirements set by ASSE, ISEA, and OSHA.

How to properly use a fall protection harness?

When used properly, a fall protection harness can be an extremely effective tool in preventing serious injuries or fatalities from falls. However, there are some important safety considerations that must be taken into account when using this type of PFA.

First and foremost, it is important to make sure that the harness you select is appropriate for the task at hand and that it fits you properly. There are many different sizes and styles of fall protection harnesses available, so it is important to choose one that will be comfortable for you to wear and that will allow a full range of motion while performing your work tasks.

It is also important to ensure that the harness you select is certified by a recognized third-party organization. There are several organizations that offer certification for fall protection products, but not all products on the market are necessarily certified. When selecting a harness, always look for one that bears the logo of a recognized certification organization such as the ANSI/ASSE International or The Canadian Standards Association (CSA). These organizations test and certify fall protection products to ensure they meet stringent safety standards.

Finally, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when donning and doffing your fall protection harness. Improper use of this type of PFA can result in serious injury or even death in the event of a fall.

What are the benefits of using a fall protection harness?

Fall protection harnesses provide a high level of safety for workers who are working at heights. There are a number of benefits to using a fall protection harness, including:

  • Reduced risk of injuries: Fall protection harnesses help to reduce the risk of injuries by absorbing the impact of a fall and distributing the force evenly across the body.
  • Increased comfort: Fall protection harnesses are designed to be comfortable to wear, so you can focus on your work without feeling uncomfortable.
  • Improved productivity: Fall protection harnesses allow you to work confidently knowing that you are protected in the event of a fall. This can help to improve your productivity and efficiency.

How to choose the right fall protection harness for your needs?

With so many different fall protection harnesses on the market, it can be tough to know where to start. When it comes to choosing the right fall protection harness for your needs, there are a few key factors to consider.

There are three main types of fall protection harnesses: full-body, torso, and seat. Full-body harnesses provide the most comprehensive coverage and support, while torso and seat harnesses are more lightweight and better suited for certain applications. Each type of harness has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the one that’s best suited for your particular needs.

Once you’ve decided on the type of harness you need, you’ll want to make sure that it meets all of the necessary safety standards and certifications. Different industries have different requirements, so it’s important to check with your employer or safety coordinator to find out what’s required for your particular job.

Finally, comfort is an important factor to consider when choosing a fall protection harness. You’ll be wearing this gear for extended periods of time, so it’s important that it’s comfortable enough to wear all day long. Look for features like adjustable straps, padded shoulder straps, and breathable materials to ensure that your harness is as comfortable as possible.

What are the common mistakes made while using a fall protection harness?

There are a number of common mistakes made while using a fall protection harness, which can lead to serious injuries or even death. These mistakes include:

  • Not reading the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before use.
  • Failing to inspect the harness for damage before each use.
  • Not adjusting the harness to fit properly.
  • Wear loose clothing that could become entangled in the harness.
  • Not attaching the fall protection device to the proper anchor point.
  • Use knots instead of loops to secure the fall protection device.
  • Failing to double-check all connections before starting work.

How to avoid making mistakes while using a fall protection harness?

While fall protection harnesses are an essential piece of safety equipment, they can also be tricky to use. If you make a mistake while using your fall protection harness, it could result in serious injury or even death. To help you avoid making mistakes while using a fall protection harness, we have put together a list of dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Read the instructions carefully before use
  • Make sure that you are wearing the harness correctly
  • Inspect the harness before each use
  • Follow all safety regulations when using the harness

Don’t:

  • Use a damaged or defective harness
  • Wear loose clothing that could get caught in the harness
  • Remove any part of the harness while you are working.

In Closing

Fall protection safety harnesses need to meet certain specifications to be regarded as effective for use. Make sure the fall protection harness you use is certified by a major safety organization such as OSHA or ANSI.

NEXT UP: Fall Protection: What Materials Are Harnesses Made Of?

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Rebecca Ross
About Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) consultant who runs her own occupational safety consultancy. She focuses on hazardous materials, warehouse safety, fire safety, lab safety, fall protection, head protection and other workplace safety topics. Learn more about Rebecca here or connect with her on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium

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