No matter how experienced you think you are when it comes using a safety harness, you should always check their suitability before using one. There have been many instances all over the world of experienced workers falling to their deaths or becoming severely injured as a result of faulty safety equipment.
How Often Do Harnesses Need To Be Inspected?
Detailed Inspections:BS 8437: 2005 and INDG367 recommend intervals not exceeding 6 months, or 3 months where the equipment is used in arduous conditions e.g. demolition, steel erection, scaffolding, steel masts or towers with sharp edges.
Interim Inspections:They are additional to detailed inspections. Interim inspections will be required where the employer's risk assessment has identified a risk that could result in significant deterioration, affecting the integrity of the equipment before the next detailed inspection is due.
Pre-Use Checks:Very importantly, they should also be carried out each time, before the product is used. A visual check should be undertaken in good light and will normally take a few minutes.
Who Can Inspect Harnesses?
It is essential that the person carrying out any inspection is competent to do so. In the case of pre-use checks, this is likely to be the user.
However, detailed and interim inspections should be carried out by somebody sufficiently independent and impartial to allow them to make objective decisions, and have appropriate and genuine authority to take the appropriate action. This does not mean that competent persons must necessarily be employed from an external company.
How To Do Your Pre-Use Checks?
Webbing:Check for signs of damage such as strained or badly pulled webbing, cracks, cuts or fraying as well as loose stitching or fading. These signs may indicate the fibre structure has been compromised.
Hardware(e.g. Buckles, D-Rings): Make sure all rivets are tight and buckles aren’t bent, distorted or chipped.
Straps and rope: Carefully check straps for signs of fraying or broken fibres. Inspect clips on straps and check for loose stitching.
Label:Make sure the label includes the serial number, manufacturing and inspection dates.
Ron Rose is an owner of MTN SHOP & Mountain Productions and serves as the Global Managing Director. As MD, he has helped thousands of businesses to get their job done safely and effectively by offering useful and practical onsite safety knowledge.