Falls continue to be a leading cause of injuries and fatalities at work. That's true year after year.
In this article, we're going to provide a few quick, easy, and important tips on wearing a fall protection harness. Properly wearing a harness can be one way to reduce the risk of fall-related injuries and illnesses (although it's important to remember that PPE is a low-level control on the hierarchy of controls and you should always attempt higher-level controls to reduce fall risk before considering PPE).
You might also want to check out the other articles related to falls and fall prevention that we've got for you.
Also, know that we've included a free Fall Prevention Toolbox Talk Checklist for you--just go down to the bottom of this article.
There's a lot to know about fall prevent and protection in order to work safely while at heights, but the following three tips about the use of fall protection PPE will be a great start.
The fall protection harness you wear should be a "full-body harness" that wraps around your trunk, shoulders, and thighs.
If you DO fall, a full-body harness like this will more evenly distribute force across your body, and that in turn will reduce the risk that you'll be seriously injured. Sounds like a good deal, no?
Don't wear something that offers less protection during a fall, such as a harness that merely straps around your waist.
Never put on a fall protection harness until you've inspected it properly.
While inspecting your harness, check all straps, buckles, D-rings, and lines for any sign of damage or wear.
Next, follow manufacturer instructions for putting the harness on, and then check to make sure you've properly fastened and adjusted all straps.
Never start work and begin working at heights unless you're fully satisfied with the condition and the fit of your harness. Talk to your supervisor and/or get a different harness if there's a problem with the fall prevention PPE you've been given.
Proper inspection of any PPE is a given, and that's obviously even more important in circumstances when a fall could lead to a serious injury or fatality.
Be sure your lanyard is attached to the D-ring on your fall arrest harness at one end and is attached securely to an approved anchor point at the other end. Remember that a guard rail is NOT an anchor point.
Ask your supervisor if the anchor point is strong enough to withstand all forces if you should fall.
You don't want to connect to something that won't support the massive forces created during a fall from heights.
Workers can benefit from receiving a blended learning solution for fall protection & prevention training that includes instructor-led training, hands-on training, online training, refresher training, and even on-the-job performance support.
An online course like the online fall prevention and protection course sampled below can be an effective part of that blended fall protection & prevention training solution.
Always remember how dangerous (and potentially fatal) working at heights can be, and always remember to use proper fall protection & prevention, including a fall-prevention harness, when appropriate.
Keep an eye out for additional articles on fall protection topics and work safely!
And while you're here, please download our free Fall Prevention Toolbox Talk Checklist, which supplements the OSHA Fall Prevention Training Guide and walks you through steps for leading fall-related toolbox talks on ladder safety, scaffolding safety, and roofing work safety.