How To Properly Inspect Your Full-Body Harness
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Full-body harnesses and fall protection equipment are made to keep you and your workers safe while on the job, but if the equipment isn't properly maintained and inspected, it could be potentially dangerous. In this article we're going to break down a few inspection tips that you can utilize before you use your harness. Falls are often regarded as the leading cause of death on construction sites and work sites where people are required to work at elevations.
It's up to the employer to ensure that the appropriate safety measures are followed, but workers should also be aware of the risks. Every safety harness on the job site should be inspected before use. It should be noted that every harness has a wearable lifespan and depending on the number of times it is used and the conditions in which it is stored, could have an effect on its wear and tear. As a matter of fact, harnesses need to be inspected frequently by a competent supervisor or inspection worker who can detect corrosion and suggest suitable repairs and actions.
Note: For a full certification in fall protection and other safety courses, check out Alberta Lift's Safety Courses Page. Whoever is responsible for inspecting full-body harnesses may consider the following tips to determine if a harness can be used further:
1. Check The Grommets
The grommets and latches are commonly subjected to heavy wear and tear because of recurrent buckling and unbuckling. Loose or broken grommets are warning signs that may call for a replacement decision. Usually replacements buckles can be purchased from the manufacturer, but ideally every job site has replacements on site. No harness with a broken grommet should be used, and basic patch jobs and sloppy repairs are not acceptable where replacements are needed.
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2. Inspect The D-Rings
Inspect for cracked, corroded, misshapen or broken D-rings. Make sure that every worker gets into the habit of inspecting the D-ring back pads. The D-ring, if it is good health, is expected to spool freely and easily.
3. Check Bars in The Buckles
Check if the outer and the center bars of the friction and mating buckles and inspect them to ensure that they are straight and not malformed in any way. Inspect for distortion at the attachment points and at the center bar.
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4. Inspect The Webbing & Rope
Create an inverted U with the webbing, stretching it a bit to properly check if you are able to spot cuts, burns, chemical damage, broken fibers, or pulled stitches. Check on both the sides, throughout the length of the webbing and down the middle. Closely inspect the paint and solvents in the webbing and rope to make sure that they look crisp and new. Some varieties of paints contain solvents and drying agents that may induce chemical damage or restrict the movement of fibers.
Harnesses come in different styles, sizes and build quality, so you should always read the instructions to understand how they can be used in the right way. Know what a new harness looks like so that you can better assess what harness you're about to use, before working at height. When in doubt, ask a supervisor or someone with more experience. A full-body harness can be your lifeline when on the job. Be safe. For more expert tips about different types of safety procedures and training, check out our Alberta Lift Safety Training Courses.
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