Safety Fast Facts


Inspecting Your Harness & Lanyards for Construction

Personal fall arrest sytems, as the name implies, are used to keep a worker from falling from a working level. The fall arrest system consists of an anchorage, connecdtors, body harness, and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline or a combination.

Employees need to know when using fall protection equipment:

  • Fall protection is something that cannot be taken for granted
  • They must wear it for it to work
  • Fall protection must be inspected each and every time before use
  • If any defects are noted, the fall protection must not be used until repaired

Employees trust their lives to the fall protection equipment, it is in their best interest to take the time to inspect it prior to use.

OSHA Requirements
OSHA requires the pre-use inspection of fall protection equipment. All equipment must be inspected fro any wear, damage, and other deterioration. If there is any defect, it must be removed from service.

What to look for during inspection:
There are some common causeds of wear and damage. As with all equipment, read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for inspections.

  • Excessive dirt can cause deterioration of the equipment - Contaiminats can come into contact with the harness or lanyard, and get into the webbing. The dirt abrades the fibers of ther webbing wich weakens them. Certain chemicals can also eat into the fibers or negatively react with the material. Try to keep fall protection gear as clean as possible.  

  • Fading caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the fibers of the webbing. - Inspect webbing for stiff, brittle or discolored areas, and for webbing that looks faded.

  • Cuts, tear, and holes are caused by cotnact with or damage from tools, equipment, or materials. - Check the edges of the webbing and also check around stitching, connectors, and buckles.

  • Burns or areas that are eaten away are areas of damage caused byheato or by chemical contact. - Fall protection used in hazardous environments (mixing chemicals, pouring molten metals, welding, and other hot work) need special attention. Webbing in these situations can be severly damaged in a very short period of time.

When used in severe environments, employees may need to inspect their fall protection equipment several times during the course of a shift.

If employees are not sure of the state of their fall protection equipment, or if there are questions as to the suitability of the equipment, take it out of service until it can be inspected by a person familiar with fall protecdtion equipment.

May 2012 - Inspecting Your Harness or Lanyards for Construction
April 2012 - Emergency Action Plans
March 2012 - Extremely Hazardous Substances
February 2012 - Are You Ready For An OSHA Inspection?
January 2012 - Inclement Weather