Why are safety harnesses important in construction?
A safety harness protects workers from dangerous falls. This is especially important when workers are performing tasks on scaffolding or a lift.
When used properly, a safety harness can keep workers safe from falls that result in serious injury or death. The higher off the ground a worker is, the more important their safety harness becomes.
What are the benefits of wearing a safety harness?
There are many benefits to wearing a safety harness when completing certain tasks on the construction site.
Here are some of the most common benefits:
Peace of mind
Better safety awareness
How to inspect your safety harness
For an exhaustive list of inspection items, refer to OSHA’s official guidelines for inspecting a safety harness and see our general guidelines below.
Always give the webbing on your harness a thorough physical inspection. Look for the obvious signs of wear and tear on the straps, like cuts and fraying, deteriorating fabric, burn marks or excessive stretching, which could indicate a previous fall. Your harness should also be free of unauthorized modifications and shouldn’t be missing any straps.
You should also be aware of less obvious signs of damage, including hard or shiny spots (which can indicate heat damage), as well as excessive hardness or brittleness.
Be on the lookout for pulled or missing stitches, which can compromise the structural integrity of your safety harness. You should also avoid amateur attempts at re-stitching straps that may have come undone. As with the webbing, you should also look for possible heat damage.
Also be aware of discoloration. While it’s usually nothing to worry about, it can sometimes indicate a bigger issue that could compromise the safety of your harness. It's always worth a second look.
When examining the hardware on your safety harness, take the same care that you would when checking the straps and stitches. Look for distortions in the hooks or buckles, as well as rust or corrosion. Those issues, plus obvious flaws like broken and distorted grommets can make a safety harness unsafe to use.
The tongue buckles should overlap with the buckle frame and move freely within the socket, and the roller of the tongue buckle should turn freely on its frame. The bars on the harness should also be straight, and all springs must be in working condition.
Make sure that every harness being used has a legible tag identifying the harness, model, manufacture date, name of manufacturer, weight limitations, and warnings.
Remove the harness from service if it is past the adopted service life policy. If the tagging system is missing entirely or illegible, remove the harness from service.
Cleaning and storage
To clean your harness, wipe off surface dirt with a sponge dampened in clean water. Squeeze the sponge dry, and then dip it in a solution of water and mild detergent. Work up a thick lather by scrubbing the harness with a vigorous back and forth motion. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
Hang the harness out to dry away from excessive heat, steam, or long periods of sunlight. When in storage, the harness should be in a clean, dry area free of exposure to fumes, heat, sunlight, or corrosive chemicals. Never store a harness next to batteries.