It all adds up to safety
Fall protection equipment prevents injuries and saves lives. Proper selection, fit and use ensures the safe use of harnesses
According to an article by Honeywell (of which HSE Solutions is the exclusive distributor in southern Africa), fall protection is the leading liability risk in the occupational health and safety industry.
Since everything from harness construction to components can be compared and contrasted, selecting the proper harness to protect your workers can be a confusing process. To help you make an informed decision, here are some tips from safety directors and product managers on questions to ask before you invest in equipment.
Some brands of harnesses do not meet basic safety standards. Before purchasing fall protection products, request written proof from the manufacturers for the following:
1. Are the products manufactured in an ISO 9001 facility?
ISO 9001 certification proves a facility meets strict international standards and represents consistency in the manufacturing process. Quality-conscious manufacturers strive to produce reliable products. Demand the best.
2. Do the products meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requirements?
Product labelling is not enough. Not all ANSI-labelled harnesses meet the ANSI Z359.1 and ANSI A10.14 standards. If products are tested and pass the standards, a manufacturer will not hesitate to supply the test results and documentation. Remember, ANSI standards are not regulated, but are self-policed. Insist on written proof.
3. Does the fall protection manufacturer have a statistical process-control (SPC) programme?
Fall protection products are only as good as the quality of the raw materials and components used to manufacture them. Expect the best.
4. Does the manufacturer utilise independent, third-party testing?
Reputable manufacturers are often members of the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), or utilise the services of other independent test laboratories that provide written test results and/or certification. Ask for written proof of certification.
5. Does the manufacturer have qualified engineers designing and/or testing products in an in-house testing facility?
Ask for documented results for dynamic drop tests and static load tests. Without testing facilities, how can a manufacturer validate labelling that implies that products meet industry-accepted standards?
Finally, when purchasing a harness, make sure you are buying the correct harness for the application. Remember, employees will more readily and properly wear a comfortable harness that easily adapts to lanyards and other connecting devices. The better the harness, the better your company’s chances of employee compliance, which increases safety and reduces liability risk. Most importantly, using quality harnesses saves lives.