Personal Protective Equipment must be visually examined by a competent person when delivered to site/works and thereafter at regular intervals (at least every 6 months), always thoroughly examine the PPE before use.
Personal Protective Equipment must be given a visual and tactile inspection when delivered to site/works, and before every use.
Particular attention should be paid to the following:-
Local abrasion as distinct from general wear may be caused by the passage of the webbing over sharp edges or protrusions while under tension and may cause serious loss of strength. Slight damage to outer fibres and occasional yarn may be considered harmless but serious reduction in width or thickness of the webbing or serious distortion to the weave pattern should lead to rejection.
Personal Protective Equipment must be immediately removed from service after being subjected to any fall, or if in any doubt about the history of the PPE.
The harness may be cleaned or disinfected if required. The following procedure must be adhered to.
All equipment should be stored and transported in the following manner.
Your personal safety should be your highest priority and therefore you must ensure your equipment is of sufficient standard and fit for purpose. Fallarrest.com have compiled a list of general guidelines for when a harness is no longer considered safe and cannot be used:
If you do not have an individual serial number the harness may not be fit for use and needs to be returned to supplier /or reissued. Never use a harness that has no label!
Without a serial number you are unable to trace the harness or verify if the harness has been inspected and therefore cannot be sure if it will be safe.
If you cannot find a manufacturing date the harness needs to be destroyed.
If you do not have a manufacturing date there is no way to confirm if the harness is within its 5 year working life.
If you cannot find an inspection date recorded within the last 12 months do not use it
HSE guidelines recommend an inspection by a professional service every 6 months but PPE regulations require a minimum of 12 monthly inspections which should be recorded on the harness itself unless the product is less than 12 months old.
When Checking any of the hardware (this means the “D” ring, plastic back plate, fasteners, web tidies, adjusters or connectors) ANY of the following will mean the harness should be removed from service and inspected by a professional or destroyed.
Is any of the hard wear buckled, twisted or generally malformed? This would be a good indicator if the harness has been used in a fall arrest scenario and should not be used again as the stress from a fall could be enough to cause unseen damage to the harness.
Are there any cracks, dents, nicks or stress lines in the hardware? If so then destroy the harness immediately. A harness needs only a single point of failure to cause an injury or fail in the event of a fall as these areas are designed to direct the force along the webbing or directly absorb impact, any failure on these points could be disastrous
Discoloration could be an indication of damage. The harness should be inspected by a professional before being used again.
If you can see any kind of damage to the hardware however minor that has not been recorded in an inspection then you should remove the harness from service until a professional can confirm the extent of the damage.
There is a certain allowance for this and 15% is the maximum tolerance and shouldn’t be confused with area. The tolerance relates to surface penetration. If the harness has visible signs of rust or spotting this could still be fine, the general guideline is if you rub the rust between thumb and forefinger and are left with a residue that exceeds 15% it should be removed from service.
A Burr on hardware could indicate a problem with the casting or an underlying issue. Remove the harness from service and do not re-issue it until it has been inspected and verified by a professional
When checking the harness webbing if any of the following issues are found the harness needs to be removed from service to be checked by a professional or destroyed.
Ultra Violet damage can be caused when the webbing is exposed to lengthy storage in direct sunlight which can weaken the webbing. A good indicator of UV damage is colour fading and the best way to check is to compare to a new harness. If discovered we recommend the harness is removed from service until inspected
Staining is a good indicator of chemical damage and can be confirmed if the webbing underneath is brittle or hardened. In general the guideline is If the stain does not come out after washing the equipment is unfit for use, this includes permanent markers!
Chemicals that are harmful to harness webbing include:
ACETALDEHYDE, ACETIC ANHYDRIDE, ACRYLIC EMULSIONS (>140degs C), AMMONIA SOLUTION (>30% conc, >140degs C), AQUA REGIA, BUTYL ACETATE, CARBON TETRACHLORIDE, CHLOROACETIC ACID (>140degs C), FLUOSILLIC ACID, FORMIC ACID, HYDRAULIC OILS (Petroleum), HYDRBROMIC ACID, MRTHYL ALCAHOL, PERCHLORIC ACID, PICKLING BATHS (Sulphuric/Nitric), POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, TOLUENE, XYLENE, ACETIC ACID, ACETONE, AMYL ACETATE, AMYL CHLORIDE, BENZENE, BUTYRIC ACID, CAUSTIC SODA (conc>140, CHLROBENZINE ETHYLALCAHOL, FORMALDEHYDE, HEXANE, HYDRAULIC OILS (Synthetic), HYDROFLUOSILLIC ACID, NITRIC ACID, PHOTOGRAPHIC SOLUTIONS, PLATING SOLUTIONS, SODA ASH, SULPHURIC ACID and TURPENTINE
Check the condition of the webbing by running your fingers down each strap and making sure it is complete and free from damage. If you find any remove the harness from service
Once you have finished the specific inspections confirm that all the straps hang correctly, that there is no obvious damage, that all the stitching is present and that you feel comfortable using the item. If at any point you don’t then seek a replacement.
Remember: all failed equipment should be destroyed so it cannot be put back into service and identified / recorded on a record sheet.
Inspecting your fall arrest harness may seem a tiresome activity but should be an essential part of your routine as this could save your life, which is what the equipment is for!
Break up the inspection into these steps
Check condition of rear “D” Ring for:
Check plastic back plate, Fasteners, Web tidies, Adjusters and Connectors for:
in all cases software, must be free from:
If you encounter any problems or you are unsure that your harness fits to the standard defined above replace it!
It is worth noting that proper care and cleaning of a fall arrest harness is just as important as the inspection itself.
*please note: working life defined by a valid and registered first issue certificate, if not available working life is set by your manufacturing date; five year working life is a guideline and harness working life is subject to individual manufacturer specifications.