The Occupational and Safety and Health Administration regulates the usage of safety harnesses used in commercial applications. It regulates the standards that the equipment must meet and dictates the circumstances under which it must be used. The OSHA definition of a safety harness includes it as being part of a personal fall arrest system that also includes safety lines and attachments.
Safety Harness Materials
OSHA requires that all safety harnesses used as part of a personal fall arrest system in a work area be made of synthetic materials. Furthermore, connectors must be used in conjunction with the equipment they are designed for and must have a corrosion-resistant coating with no sharp edges. OSHA also requires that body belts used as part of a harness or in place of one must be at least 1 5/8 inches in width.
Uses of Harnesses
OSHA also specifies that harnesses and other personal safety equipment may not be used for lifting equipment or supplies. Before each use harnesses are required to undergo inspection for damage or defects. Damaged safety equipment may not be used until its integrity has been verified. Harnesses used as part of a fall arrest system shall be attached to the safety line at or above shoulder level on the person using it.
Safety Harness Limits
Safety harnesses are required to limit the breaking force experienced by their users to 816 Kilogram of force. When using a belt in place of a safety harness, breaking force may not exceed 408 Kilogram of force. Lines used to support a safety harness must be able to bear 2268 Kilogram of force for each person hooked into it--up to two--unless used as part of a self-retracting lifeline. Self-retracting lifelines are only required to withstand 1361 Kilogram of force.