Let's Talk About Harness Inspections and Fittings
I wanted to take the time to give some pointers to consider when it comes to keeping your crews safe. Hopefully this is an easy read that can give you some idea of where to start when it comes to harness inspections and fittings. This article is not to be used in place of proper training.
Grasp the webbing with your hands, 6 - 8 inches apart. Bend the webbing in an inverted "U". The surface tension resulting makes damaged fibers or cut easier to see.
Do this the entire length of the webbing. Inspecting both sides of each strap. Watch for frayed edges, broken fibers, pulled stitches, cuts, burns, and other damage.
Check the D-Rings for distortion, cracks, breaks, rough, or sharp edges. The D-Ring should pivot freely. The D-Ring back pads should also be inspected.
Note any unusual wear, frayed, cut fibers, or distortion of the buckles or D-Rings
4. Tongue and Grommets
The tongue receives heavy wear from repeated buckling and unbuckling. Inspect for loose, distorted, or broken grommets. Webbing should not have any additional punched holes.
5. Tongue Buckles
Buckle tongues should be free of distortion in shape and motion. They should overlap the buckle frame and move freely in their socket. the roller should turn freely on the frame.
6. Friction and Mating Buckles
Inspect buckle for distortion. Outer bars and center bars must be straight. Pay special attention to the corners and attachment points of the center bars.
7. Snap Hooks
Inspect closely for hook and eye distortions, cracks, corrosion, or pitted surfaces. The snap hook should seat into the nose without binding and should not be distorted or obstructed. The snap hook spring should exert sufficient force to keep it firmly closed. The snap hook lock must prevent it from opening accidentally.
8. Shock Absorbing Lanyard
While bending webbing into an inverted "U" shape, observe each side of the webbed lanyard. Look for cuts, breaks, swelling, discoloration, cracks and any breaks in the stitching. Also, look for the warning flag or signs of deployment at the absorber pack.
The outer portion of the pack should be examined for burn holes and tears. Stitching on areas where the pack is sewn to D-rings, belts, or lanyards should be examined for loose strands, rips, and deterioration.
10. Proper Storage
Store full body harnesses and lanyards in a cool, dry, clean, environment out of direct sunlight. Avoid areas where chemical vapors may exist.
11. Proper Fit-Up
It is extremely important that you be sure your harness fits and is properly adjusted. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death, and proper connection of both types of straps is essential to fall safety. After donning a harness, make sure to check:
CHEST STRAP- Should be positioned in the middle of your chest. If the chest strap is positioned too high, then during a fall arrest the strap may move upwards causing you to run the risk of strangulation. If the chest strap is too low or not connected at all, you could fall out of your harness during a fall.
LEG STRAPS- Proper adjustment of the leg straps is critical for safety. Leg straps should be snug, but not snug to the point that they obstruct normal blood circulation in the legs. Failure to wear leg straps will not secure your body within the harness during a fall and could lead to serious injury or death.
SUB PELVIC STRAP- Provides support in the event of a fall, and also provides support when used for positioning. In a seated position, the sub-pelvic strap should comfortably provide a “seat” for the buttocks. In the event of a free fall, simply lift up your legs to transfer weight to the sub-pelvic strap. The sub-pelvic strap also provides support when used for positioning.
Although this isn't necessarily a thought provoking article, it is a jumpstart on what to look for and be aware of while training your crew. Feel free to use this information and expand upon it. As always, our goal is to keep our crews safe. Have a great week!