How to check a safety harness

Written by kenneth w. michael wills
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How to check a safety harness
A safety harness is a crucial part of any job involving heights. (A window cleaner on a stage in Melbournes financial district. image by david Hutchinson from

When working from heights of 4 feet or above, you should don a safety harness to help ward off serious injury in the event of a fall, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Whether putting a roof on a home or washing windows on a skyscraper, a safety harness should complete your checklist for the job. A safety harness works to break your fall in the event you slip, while redistributing the energy from the fall to your chest, shoulders and upper thighs. Before starting any job, the harness requires inspection to ensure safety.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Safety harness
  • Co-worker or partner

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  1. 1

    Check the webbing of the safety harness before any job. Inspect for any damage by bending the surface of the webbing, looking for cracks, cuts or frays. Inspect the webbing carefully by examining it closely. Check the stitching to ensure there are no broken and unravelling threads. Also check for any fading, an indication of compromised fibre structure. Any evidence of the aforementioned problems might compromise your safety in the event of a fall.

  2. 2

    Look over all the safety harness' metal pieces, checking for bent, chipped, loose or broken metal pieces. Make sure all rivets are tight and the buckles do not have any bending, chipped pieces or sharp, protruding edges. Make sure your D-rings (the pieces that attach your harness seat to the rope) are not warped or chipped.

  3. 3

    Inspect all straps and your rope. Carefully scan both the rope and straps to check for fraying and broken fibres. Your rope should be uniform and thick; if one section of the rope is thinner than the other sections, the fibre is susceptible to breakage. Be sure to check all clips on the straps, and check for loose stitching as well.

  4. 4

    Put on the safety harness with the help of your partner. Have your partner or co-worker make sure all straps fit in the correct position and that the harness wears correctly on your body. If you fail to put on the harness correctly, it may fail in the event of a fall.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace any equipment such as ropes, D-rings or the safety harness itself if they show signs of wear or damage.

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