When it comes to choosing a safety harness for fall protection, they can look quite similar. What you may not realize initially is just how many different options there are. Thankfully, a little bit of help will go a long way.

In this guide, you will learn some of the most important factors there are when choosing a safety harness. In the end, you can feel good about your choice and know that your safety is at the forefront.

Has the Harness Been Tested to Safety Standards?

Perhaps the single most important part of choosing a safety harness is knowing that you have chosen one that meets stringent safety standards. The law is very clear as it pertains to the safety standards for fall protection harnesses. Whether used for construction, home scaffolding, ship-yarding, or otherwise, those guidelines must be met.

Be certain that the harness you choose has been tested to safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA). The organization requires all products be tested to quite rigorous standards. That includes maximum load weights and arresting forces to ensure that workers remain safe when using these harnesses.

Visibility Concerns

Though fall protection is the first thing to consider when choosing a full-body harness, there is another important consideration to make: visibility. Working in the midst of inclement weather, at night, or in any other situation where visibility can be a concern means having a harness that will make you visible.

Since harnesses are worn over top of the clothing, it is critical to make sure that the harness is highly visible and reflects light. Since most fall protection harnesses are already made of bright materials, some of which have reflective stitching or materials, being seen in even low or poor visibility conditions will be far easier.

Replacing an Old Harness

The good thing about safety harnesses is that they can last for years so long as they have been properly maintained. That said, using a safety harness on a daily basis will lead to increased wear and damage over time. For that reason, it is vital to inspect your safety harness on a daily basis. Things can change daily and even one minor flaw can have a major impact.

If you notice any noteworthy signs of wear or damage, replace the harness immediately. Likewise, any harness that has already been involved in a fall incident should be replaced as soon as possible. These are not meant to be used over and over again in repeated incidents. Stay on top of harness inspections to prevent these issues from leading to a major problem.

Comfort is Key

While it is definitely important to make sure that you have the right kind and fit for your harness, don’t overlook comfort. Safety equipment only works if it is worn regularly, and workers tend to find any reason to not wear uncomfortable equipment. Ill-fitting and uncomfortable harnesses tend to not get worn and that is a potentially dangerous situation for anyone to be in.

Finding the right fit is key. It should be tight but not too tight. Be certain that you can fit a few fingers between your body and the harness. If you use harnesses regularly, invest in a lightweight one. They are much easier on your body throughout the course of a day. Likewise, harnesses can add extra padding at the legs, waist, back, and shoulders. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to wear your harness. Staying safe is important, so there is no reason to neglect your fall protection equipment.

Claire Preece