Safety gear like boots, safety glasses and hardhats are important, but not like the details of fall protection. You can’t take the risk of wearing the wrong safety harness. After all, your life depends on it working correctly at the right time, whether you’re on the roof of the average suburban home, climbing a rock wall in the gym or climbing a 500-foot cell phone tower. Yet the sheer number of styles, options, features, and configurations out there makes it difficult to choose the best safety harness for your application. Here are four things you should be looking for when buying safety harnesses.
What You Are Doing When Wearing It
There is a significant difference between sport safety harnesses and professional safety harnesses. Safety harnesses for various sports will meet different performance requirements. Equally important, they’ll have features intended to aid that market. For example, rock climbers’ safety vests have hooks for carabiners and belays, while a construction worker’s safety vest will have holders for various tools.
Some jobs require arc flash protection. In these cases, you need to choose a safety harness that is rated for arc flash protection. These vests are flame-resistant and non-conductive. Such harnesses may be mandatory for those working with high voltage electricity or welding equipment.
Connections and Attachments
The attachment points on a safety vest will depend on the application. For example, for fall arrest applications, there must be an attachment point between the shoulder blades. This is called the dorsal ring. And without that dorsal ring, you don’t have effective fall arrest. Look for DBI SALA safety harness models that have EZ-link technology while leaving the dorsal D-ring available for a separate lanyard to maximize fall protection.
Don’t forget to consider how easy it is for safety harnesses to be used. If the safety harness is difficult to connect properly, the wearer probably isn’t as safe as they think they are. Harnesses that are comfortable and easy to use are more likely to be worn and worn properly. The harnesses should make it easy to attract safety lanyards and lifelines.
Work-type safety harnesses should be comfortable since your crew will be wearing it every shift. However, the greater need for fall protection and fall arrest may limit how comfortable they can be. Sport-related safety harnesses put a premium on comfort and come with a greater degree of padding.
You may hear the arguments in favor of vest or crossover style. However, that’s more a matter of comfort for the individual wearer, not a factor that affects safety in most cases. Yet the crossover style’s front-mounted D-ring makes it a better choice for people constantly climbing ladders or working in rescue operations. If someone is in a confined area, cross-over safety vests are an ideal choice because they simplify the retrieval of the wearer.
Suppose you’ve found safety harnesses that meet the various safety regulations you’re required to meet. They’re comfortable and offer the highest level of fall protection. If they aren’t adjustable, you will eventually have a problem.
A safety harness that fits today may not fit next year if someone gains weight. A safety harness may not offer the necessary level of protection if the wearer loses a lot of weight. Furthermore, safety harnesses need to adjust as the number of layers people wear change. Then they will fit properly over a snowsuit or other protective clothing.
The brand of safety harness is almost as unimportant as the color. However, there are other factors like style, design, and performance that make the purchasing decision for you.