Safety harnesses are a crucial piece of fall protection equipment that many use to complete their fall arrest systems. These components fit around a worker's body and attach to other elements, including self-retracting lines (SRLs), lanyards, and other connectors. Whether you work suspended in the air or scaling great heights, choosing the right body harness makes all the difference in critical life-or-death situations.
Read on to learn more about how to choose the right safety harness for your job, as well as the many types of body wear catered to specific applications and industries.
How to Choose a Full Body Harness
Choosing the right safety harness makes all the difference in the world for both work productivity and worker well-being. It's important to consider the harness's design, capabilities, and uses to ensure that it meets industry standards, OSHA compliance, and provides the best safeguards for your workers, preventing work-related accidents from occurring.
When choosing the right safety harness for your job, go through the following points to ensure you cover all possibilities of this equipment:
Job Requirements: Understand the specific tasks and hazards associated with your application. Certain design features of the body wear are better suited to meet the safety requirements of one job versus another. While a standard safety harness may work fine for a low-risk environment, the same can't be said for other applications. Therefore, take these requirements seriously and don't cut corners (or costs) when searching for harnesses.
Industry Compliance: You also need to keep in mind the overall fall protection standards of your specific industry, including OSHA compliance. Research these safety requirements in order to choose a compliant safety harness option.
Attachment Points: Different tasks may require various attachment points. Consider the number and location of D-rings based on the job requirements. For example, standard safety harnesses contain at least one dorsal D-Ring, while positioning body wear may have two rings, in addition to the dorsal D-Ring, for better securement.
Material & Construction: Choose a harness constructed from durable materials that can withstand the environmental conditions of your workplace. For example, arc flash-related safety harnesses include material that helps insulate utility workers from harmful electrical currents.
Comfort & Fit: Lastly, a comfortable harness encourages regular use. Ensure proper sizing and look for features like padding, adjustable straps, and breathable materials.
After choosing the right safety harness, companies need to provide adequate training on proper use and inspection. All workers using the body wear should be familiar with the harness's features and adjustments.
Safety Harness Features
US Cargo Control offers a variety of different safety harnesses that contain numerous features and hardware. Some of these features that customers need to take into consideration include:
- the location of the D-Ring(s)
- belted vs. non-belted harnesses
- leg straps and buckles
- chest straps and buckles
- suspension trauma straps
It's also important to note that US Cargo Control offers safety harnesses in women's sizes that allow for extra hip adjustability to ensure a better fit and reduce any discomfort while on the job. Be sure to check out our selection and find these specific harness fits.
Types of Safety Harnesses
1. General Fall Arrest Harnesses
Standard fall arrest harnesses can be used in a variety of different industries and applications where workers are exposed to hazards that involve a 6-12 ft. drop. There are no required specific types of material, beyond what is necessary for safe fall arrests, needed for this equipment.
General fall arrest safety harnesses contain singular dorsal D-Rings, which sit between the shoulder blades, serving as the primary connection point. Additionally, these harnesses typically don't have belts worn around the waist, however some options do.
Types of General Safety Harnesses
2. Positioning Body Wear
Positioning body wear, also known as construction harnesses, work for people operating from awkward and confined spaces. These harnesses are best-suited for applications where workers will need full use of both hands, including window washing, maintenance, and other tasks where workers stay positioned for an extended period of time.
The positioning body wear typically comes with two additional hip D-Rings, along with a dorsal D-Ring, that allow for additional connections to netting, rebar, etc. Make sure to have secure connection points, as well as anchors, to keep you safe in these positions.
Types of Positioning Body Wear
- Comfortech Gel Full-Body Construction Harness w/ Trauma Straps
- FallTech Journeyman Flex Positioning Harness with Suspension Trauma Straps
- 3M DBI-SALA Exofit Strata Construction Positioning Harness w/ Trauma Straps
3. Safety Climbing Harnesses
Climbing harnesses are ideal for workers going up or down ladders, or other climbing structures. These come equipped with sternal D-rings for front connection to life-saving lanyards and lines. This additional connection provides added control and safety for many workers in these dangerous and hazardous situations.
Many climbing safety harnesses are often compared to positioning body wear due to their similar connectors and elements. For safety, make sure that any harness chosen for climbing applications contains a sternal D-ring. This is often a mandated requirement for most companies.
Types of Safety Climbing Harnesses
4. Arc Flash-Related Harnesses
Arc flash-related safety harnesses are often used in applications dealing with electrical work, such as utility infrastructure. The design and materials used to make these harnesses prevent workers from coming into contact with harmful electrical currents, often known as arc flash.
These harnesses are made with arc-resistant Nomex® webbing, a flame-resistant Kevlar® fiber core, and PVC-coated hardware to insulate from any intense heat and conductivity if an arc flash occurs on the job.
Types of Arc Flash-Related Harnesses
5. Iron Work Body Wear
Lastly, iron work harnesses are made especially for those working in iron or other heavy duty construction industries. With all the heavy tools necessary on the job, these safety harnesses include additional padding and reinforcement in high-wear areas to reduce discomfort while working.
A lot of iron harnesses are available with durable belt options that hold items and distributes the weight evenly across the body, reducing stress in acute areas and increasing the worker's functionality.
Types of Iron Work Body Wear
Fall Protection from US Cargo Control
Having proper fall protection keeps you and your workers safe from serious injury or death. Body harnesses are just one piece of the puzzle to creating a complete system of personal protective equipment. Other components include:
Understanding these elements empowers both workers and companies to make the right decisions when it comes to fall protection gear. Besides individual components, we also offer fall protection kits that include basic elements necessary for fall arrest systems. Talk more with our product experts today to choose the right equipment for your needs