Who recertifies safety harnesses?
A safety harness is one piece of a worker’s PFAS (Personal Fall Arrest System), and although all are very important, a safety harness must be adjusted and fit properly, as well as provide a worker the ability to perform various tasks while using a PFAS, this and other reasons make the safety harness an interesting and important part of your safety gear. According to OSHA 1910.140 (Personal Fall Protection Systems), a Body Harness is described as, “straps that secure about the employee in a manner to distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, and shoulders, with a means for attaching the harness to other components of a personal fall protection system.”
To answer a question of who ‘recertifies’ a safety harness, the correct answer would be no one. A safety harness is originally certified by the maker, who manufactures a harness to a particular standard, and then harnesses are inspected by a 3rd party to ensure the standard is met or exceeded. In the life of a safety harness, that is the only certification. The reason for this is most harnesses, and all Malta Dynamics safety harnesses, are meant to be discarded after a failed inspection, or after the forces of a fall. Most safety harnesses will have a ‘load indicator’ where the webbing or fabric is folded and sewn together. When the forces like a fall are experienced, these threads fray and allow the harness strap to unfold, usually revealing a bright ‘STOP’ sign, indicating the harness has experienced the forces of a fall, and shows instructions to remove from service.
e-certification is a different process than inspection, and inspection of safety harnesses may be the solution we’re looking for in this question. There are 2 types of inspections on a safety harness: A pre-use inspection, and a Competent Person Inspection. We’ve covered this in detail a while back, and you can click here for the full video.
Safety harnesses, and all PPE are required to have a documented inspection at least annually, or more often. Factors that may contribute to a more frequent inspection are manufacturer’s instruction, and work environments that contribute to deteriorating products or materials. To answer who performs the pre-use inspection, it is the user of the safety gear. If I am utilizing a PFAS for my work today, it is my responsibility to inspect and properly fit the product before wearing or using it. For the annual inspection, your company’s Fall Protection Competent Person will keep the records of inspection, and either perform the inspections, or facilitate the inspections of safety harnesses for your company.
If you do not know who your Fall Protection Competent Person is, start with your immediate supervisor, or your safety manager.
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