A large portion of the work performed in the lifting industry is at heights. The risk of falls from heights is therefore much higher and far more likely to cause minor to serious injuries. In some cases, a fall could even be fatal. Taking safety precautions in order to prevent falls is therefore critical.
Safety harnesses are the primary means of preventing falls. The harness is worn by the person working at heights and attached to a stable, immovable structure or object by a safety line. This safety line will stop a worker from hitting the ground should a fall occur.
The harness provides the added benefit of allowing workers to use both hands when working at heights. In other words, they do not need to hold on to a railing or other object in order to prevent a fall. Having both hands free is essential to increase productivity and improve work performance.
Workers also have more confidence and peace of mind when wearing a safety harness. The fear of falling is decreased thereby allowing them to focus on the task at hand rather than being concerned with being seriously injured by a fall.
There are a wide range of different harnesses available that are suitable for use for the lifting industry. The choice of harness is largely dependent on the environment that where the work will be performed as well as the type of work.
For instance, if work at heights is being performed at night or where visibility is an issue, a high visibility harness is recommended. A fire retardant harness is advisable for working in environments where there are fire hazards or risks.
Employers and property owners should be aware of the risks of working at heights in the lifting industry and ensure that workers wear safety harnesses as they may be held liable for injuries sustained from a fall.
A few words on fall arrest safety harnesses
These are worn to protect the worker against the risks of falling (unlike a safety harness). Since it is designed to prevent a fall, it is equipped with strong attachment points in the form of dorsal rings between the shoulder blades and sternal rings on the chest. It ensures the safest response to a serious fall or accident, so it can, and has, saved lives!
5 point full body harnesses are becoming more popular these days, with arrest attachment points on the front and back. The harness also has two work positioning attachment points and a personal suspension point (Ventral point) on the waist. The harness will be adjustable to fit a range of sizes, with adjustment buckles on the shoulders, waist and leg loops.
A harness that can be used for fall arrest, work restraint and work positioning techniques, as well as climbing and rigging – so it’s very multifunctional.