On the job site, you can never be too prepared for any safety hazard.
This is especially important when it comes to fall hazards. Adequate fall protection, including a fall protection harness, is necessary for workers to feel safe while working at height.
The question is: Are all fall protection harnesses the same?
We’ll show you all of the different types of fall protection harnesses and how they’re best used.
Types Of Fall Protection Harnesses
Certain fall hazard situations call for a specific type of fall protection harness, which can be differentiated by the position of the connection points.
General Fall Arrest Harness
Fall arrest harnesses are the most common type of fall protection harness. The D-ring connection point is typically located on the back of the harness to evenly distribute the force of a fall. A lanyard is attached to this D-ring, with the other end safely secured to an anchor point.
As the name suggests, a ladder-climbing harness is specifically designed for workers climbing up and down ladders. On these harnesses, the D-ring connection point is located on the front of the harness and connects to a ladder-climbing safety system.
Work Positioning Harness
Work positioning harnesses are designed to restrain the worker to a certain area to avoid the fall altogether. The D-rings on this harness are located near the hips and allow lateral movement on top of a platform. Work positioning harnesses are used with positioning devices.
Confined Space Entry & Retrieval Harness
Unfortunately, there will be incidents where it's necessary to retrieve a worker from a confined space. A confined space entry and retrieval harness has D-rings on both shoulders to facilitate the upright retrieval of a worker trapped in harder-to-reach areas.
Descent & Suspension Harness
When working with a descent control device, using a descent and suspension harness is necessary. These harnesses typically have D-ring connectors located on the front of the harness and sometimes two more near the hips to help with positioning, depending on the harness used.
In some cases, while working at height, a body belt can complement your fall protection harness.
It’s important to note that a body belt isn’t a replacement for a fall arrest harness. They’re designed for use with a compliant harness.
Work Positioning Belt
Work positioning belts function similarly to work positioning harnesses. They restrict movement to a specific area while limiting any free fall to two feet or less. D-ring connectors are located on both hips.
Back and Tool Support Belt
These belts aren’t as much for fall protection. Instead, they support the worker’s back and provide tool and equipment attachments for easy access while working at height. Some back and tool support belts double as work positioning belts with D-ring connectors located on both hips.
Restraint belts are used with specific fall restraint systems to keep workers from approaching areas where they might fall off. They have a minimal design with only one D-ring connector located on the back of the belt.
Commonly used in jobs such as window washing, suspension workseats offer support and prevent you from a free fall while allowing you to be raised and lowered for the job.
Despite the potential of preventing a fall, regulations state that a separate harness must be used while using a suspension workseat.
Certain Scenarios Require a Different Fall Protection Harness
Working in an area with fall hazards is often unavoidable. At some point, workers will need to work at height while wearing a fall protection harness.
Some situations, such as rescue or retrieval, call for specific types of harnesses. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.
You also have body belts. While they aren’t a replacement for a well-inspected fall protection harness, they can provide added comfort, protection, and convenience.
With proper training on using these fall protection harnesses and body belts properly, you can avoid fall hazard safety incidents on your job site.
Do You Have a Working at Heights Safety Guide?
Your workers will appreciate being on the same page regarding fall hazards and working at heights. Download Tanner’s safety guide template today for all the information you need on creating your own.