How to conduct a harness inspection

Before using a fall arrest harness you need to inspect it to make sure it is fit for use. As you can imagine it does not help you wear a harness which is supposed to potentially save your life, only to have it fail when you need it most.


Here are some steps you can follow when inspecting your harness before you wear it:


Part 1 - Pre-inspection

  • | Find the dorsal D-ring and pick the harness up by it
  • | If the lanyard is connected untangle both the harness and lanyard
  • | Ensure that your harness is clean to the extent that it is possible to do a thorough inspection
  • | Undo all the buckles and pull all adjustable parts until it is on its maximum size - this will give you a clearer view in case there is hidden damage



Part 2 - Webbing

  • | Look for signs of cuts, tears, abrasions, burn marks, holes, welding splatters, chemical damage or knots in the webbing
  • | Also look for excessive grease, paint, glue, oil and discolouration caused by UV damage
  • | Run the webbing through your fingers on both sides ensuring there are no shards of glass or metal in the webbing
  • | Make sure that the webbing stays supple and soft


Part 3 - Stitching

  • | Now look at the stitching blocks - is there any loose or damaged stitching, threads that are broken or sections that are missing?
  • | Make sure that you do this inspection on both sides of the webbing


Part 4 - Hardware (buckles etc)

  • | Inspect the hardware for any rust, deformation, cracks or excessive wear
  • | Make sure there are no foreign objects such as cable ties or tags attached to the hardware since these can damage the webbing in the event of a fall
  • | Ensure that each buckle interlocks with the correct buckle
  • | Ensure that every connector can open and close properly
  • | Also make sure that the catch used in all the hooks is able to close properly and completely by itself with no assistance


Part 5 - Label

  • | The label is considered the certificate of the harness
  • | The information on the label should include: Type of product/Name of product, serial number, manufacturer, manufacturing date, standard reference as well as info booklet icon


In the event that an issue is found during any of these steps, the harness is to be removed from service. If you are unsure you need to show the harness to either the supplier or a competent trained person (SANS 50365:2008:3.3). Also remember that any harness that has been involved in a fall accident should be deemed as unsafe and should also be removed from service. Never use equipment that raises any doubt when it comes to its ability to perform

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