25 May Choosing the Right Fall Arrest Harness: A Buyer’s Guide
The last thing anybody needs on a job site is for somebody to fall or otherwise injure themselves. Falling from a height is one of the most common causes of work-related injuries in Australia, and although its incidence dropped from 4.2% in 2017- 2018 to 3.5% in 2021- 2022, we still have a long way to go towards zero.
Workplace injuries, including falls, often lead to time off work which impacts not only the worker themselves, but also the business as a whole. So how can we help to keep reducing workplace falls from heights? A fall arrest harness plays a crucial role.
This article looks at the many types of fall arrest harnesses available to help you determine which is right for you. For personalised advice, contact our team at Australian Height Safety Services today.
What Is A Fall Arrest Harness?
A fall arrest harness is a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect people who work at heights from falling. It looks like a series of straps, buckles, D-rings, and other attachments that cover all areas of the body to ensure a person’s body is safely secured in place. This is then connected to a safety fall line or other fall protection system. If the person in the harness falls, the harness works to stop their fall and hold them in place until they can be safely lowered to the ground or otherwise rescued.
Choosing The Fall Arrest Harness For You
Much like how your specific role is different to somebody else’s, even if they work in the same place or perform the same duties as you, not every fall arrest harness is built the same. There are many factors you need to consider before purchasing a fall arrest harness, such as:
1. What You Need The Harness To Do
When it comes to the tasks you need your fall arrest harness to perform, there are several types of harnesses to consider. The main types are:
- H-Style— A lightweight full-body harness for general use, the H-style harness has front and rear fall arrest Ds and adjustable straps for the chest, torso, and legs. Its simple design gives you freedom to move, making it a popular choice for general height work.
- Riggers— This is a H-style harness but with a waist belt and side Ds added for work positioning. The rigger harness is often used for tasks that require hands-free work.
- Confined Space— As the name suggests, this type of harness is used when there is constricted access. It comes in a variety of configurations to suit the user’s needs. Its other main point of difference is the pickup/rescue points on the shoulder straps.
- Tower Workers— Again, its name indicates what it’s most often used for, in this case, tower or pole work. The tower workers harness comes with forward rings and a buttock pad/drop seat for added comfort while working. This harness helps to hold the person in place so they can work with their hands comfortably.
- Rope Access/Rescue Style— This type of harness provides support and reduces pressure points for the person who will be suspended for a period of time. It allows the user to stay in a semi-sitting position.
2. How Often You Will Be Using The Harness
The period of time you expect to use the harness will factor into which type you choose.
- Compliance Level— A compliance level harness is designed to meet compliance codes but won’t offer any additional comfort features such as padding. This makes them suitable for occasional use.
- Standard Level— This harness typically has extra padding for comfort and additional features such as quick-connect buckles for ease of use, making it a good option for regular use.
- Premium— A premium harness is often preferred for use over an extended period of time, as it contains additional features and increased padding for the ultimate in functionality.
3. If The Harness Fits Correctly
The correct fit is crucial, but keep in mind that this refers to how it fits in terms of safety, not comfort. A loose-fitting full-body harness may be more comfortable, but not as practical when it comes to safety. You need a firm fit to decrease your risk of serious injury in the event of a fall. Make sure you try on several harnesses to find the right fit.
4. How You Adjust And Wear The Harness
The fit itself is one thing, and the other side of that is how you adjust it to suit you. Adjusting it as necessary is just as vital as the type and size of the harness. When adjusted to fit you specifically, your harness can function as needed to protect you if you fall. Make sure the straps aren’t twisted or otherwise sitting improperly before you go up.
5. Any Additional Features You May Need The Harness To Have
If you choose a premium harness, you’ll likely already have all the features you may need. However, this can vary between manufacturers. Some additional features you may need to consider are:
- Webbing that has been treated with Teflon to extend the life of the harness
- Stainless steel hardware, which is good for use in marine environments and water or sewerage utilities
- Locking, quick adjusters, and anti-slip buckles to stop webbing creep
- Equipment or tool loops, especially for rope access and rescue harnesses
Looking For A Fall Arrest Harness?
If you’re in the market for a fall arrest harness, we hope we’ve been able to help you work out what you need— and what you don’t. Whether you need a compliance level H-style harness or a premium harness with all the safety and comfort features available, there’s an option to suit your needs and keep you safe.
At Australian Height Safety Systems, we offer all-encompassing height safety systems and work with Sayfa Group to bring you fall protection and accessories including a wide range of harnesses. Whatever type of harness you need, we’re here to help! Give us a call today on 1300 941 211.