Safety Harness: What are they?
A safety harness is a device worn around your body that helps prevent injury when working with dangerous tools or machinery. A safety harness consists of two parts; the first part is made from strong material such as leather, nylon, or even metal and it’s designed to protect you from falls (or other types of injuries) while wearing it. The second part is called a “cradle” which is usually made out of fabric or similar materials and it’s there to catch any sharp objects thrown at you during a fall.
The main purpose of a safety harness is to provide some degree of protection against falling objects. They’re not meant to keep you safe from all hazards, but rather just those that might cause severe bodily harm if they hit you directly. You need both parts of the harness in order to do your job safely and effectively.
Types of Safety Harnesses
There are many different kinds of safety harnesses available today. Some are specifically designed for specific jobs like roofing, others are meant to provide maximum protection for construction workers. There is no right or wrong kind of harness, it depends entirely on what type of work you want to perform and how much risk you’re willing to take.
Harnesses are rated based on their maximum fall rating. A fall rating of six feet would mean that the harness is guaranteed to prevent you from sustaining any type of injury if you fall six feet or shorter. The main advantage of a high-rated harness is the added protection you get against objects, but it also tends to be bulkier and more restrictive than lower-rated harnesses.
The most common types of harnesses are classified in three different groups: 6, 8, and 12-rated. The first number of a harness’s rating indicates how many feet you can fall before the harness stops your fall. So a 6-rated harness is designed to protect you from falls up to six feet, an 8-rated harness protects you from falls up to eight feet, and so on.
Harnesses designed for roofing or “high-rise” work are usually 12-rated, and work best for jobs where you’re working at great heights. These kinds of harnesses are specifically designed to distribute the impact of a fall over a larger surface area, which reduces the chances of injury. They’re also much bulkier and heavier than other types of harnesses, but the added protection is well worth it if you’re doing a job that involves heights.
Harnesses for construction work are usually 8-rated, and provide a good balance of protection and weight. They’re not as bulky as 12-rated harnesses, but they’re still quite a bit heavier than 6-rated harnesses.
Harnesses for industrial work are usually 6-rated, and are the lightest and most flexible type of harnesses you can get. They are not as bulky or protective as other types of harnesses, but in most cases they’re more than enough to do the job.
How to Choose the Right Harness for You
Not all safety harnesses are created equal, which means you should take some time before making a purchase to see which one is right for you. There are a few factors to consider before you buy:
Where will you be using it?
What is the maximum height you’ll be working at?
How much does it cost?
The answers to these questions will help you decide which type of harness is best for your needs.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when choosing a harness or any other safety gear, as these are designed specifically for the work you’ll be doing. A roofer, for example, will need a different kind of harness than an electrician.
Harnesses for Roofers
Safety is always the number one priority for roofers, which is why they’re some of the most careful and thorough workers you’ll find. Roofers have to wear the appropriate safety gear at all times while on the job site, and that includes a harness of some kind.
There are three main types of roofing harnesses: 6-rated, 8-rated, and 12-rated. Which one you get will largely depend on where and how you’ll be working. If you’re going to be working at heights of up to 25 feet, you can use a 6-rated harness.
When working at heights between 26 and 50 feet, you should be using an 8-rated harness. For anything higher than that, a 12-rated harness is needed.
Harnesses for Electricians
Many people don’t realize the amount of work and danger that goes into the job of an electrician. There’s a reason these professionals have their own code! One misstep and things could go very wrong, which is why you need to make sure you’re using the right safety gear.
In general, electricians only need two types of harnesses: a waist harness and an attachable tether. The waist harness should be a full body harness made with durable material that fits comfortably around your waist. It does not need to be a 12-rated harness.
The attachable tether can be whatever you want, but it should at least be a 6-rated model. If you’re working over water, however, you’ll likely need to use a stronger tether.
Harnesses for Roof Cleaners
If you work as a roof cleaner, then choosing the right harness will be very important. There are two types of roof cleaning jobs: pressure washing and hand washing. Each one requires its own type of harness.
For pressure washers, you’ll need a 6-rated harness that’s specifically made for your type of work. These harnesses are designed to be lightweight and durable while you’re working at great heights. This is different from other types of roofing harnesses, which tend to be heavier duty.
Hand washers will also need a 6-rated harness, but they should also have some additional protection. A full body harness made of durable, washable material is a must. You’ll also want to make sure it’s designed to keep you stable and secure on the roof while you work.
If the job is large enough, you may even want to use a rope system while cleaning.
Harnesses for Scaffold Erectors
If you’re a scaffold erector, then you need a harness that’s meant for erecting scaffold. It’s really that simple. There are, however, various types of these harnesses that are made for different types of scaffold, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right one.
For example, if you’re building a single-pole scaffold, then you’ll need an independent full body harness with a lanyard. This should help you move safely and quickly from one section to another. If you’re working on a type of scaffold that doesn’t use poles, such as a suspended scaffold, then you should use a full body harness with an attachable tether.
This type of harness can help keep you secure as you move around on the scaffold.
Working on heights is never going to be 100% safe, but it can be as safe as possible with the right equipment. Using a harness that’s not designed for the type of work you’re doing can put you in serious danger. Before you go shopping for one, make sure you know what type of work you’ll be doing so you can choose the right one.
Harnesses Buying Guide
If you work at a job that requires you to work at a height, then you need the right safety gear to keep you protected. One of the most important things you can wear is a harness, but not just any harness will do. You need to make sure it’s rated for the type of work you’ll be doing so you don’t put yourself at risk.
Harnesses are rated based on what they’re designed to do. This means that every type of harness is different, so you’ll need to choose the right one for the type of work you’re doing. As a rule of thumb, however, here are some things you should look for in any harness:
It should be made of durable material that can stand up to your working environment.
Sources & references used in this article:
Safety harness by ER Dye – US Patent 3,028,200, 1962 – Google Patents
Protective level of safety harnesses combined with some racing car seats in frontal impacts—A laboratory study by AL Ottoson, P Lövsund – Accident Analysis & Prevention, 1986 – Elsevier
Safety harnesses, connective ring attachments for use in safety harnesses and back pads for use in safety harnesses by T Lang, PL Anderson, JR Frey, R Balquist – US Patent 8,177,025, 2012 – Google Patents