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What Is Fall Protection Equipment?

There are many strategies for fall prevention. Employee safety can be improved by installing barriers, railings, scaffolding, and movable platforms. In cases where it is not viable to build systems like these on the worksite, personal fall protection equipment is vital to ensure workers’ safety.

A “personal fall arrest system” is what saves an employee who falls from a working level. Made up of an anchorage, connectors, a body belt or harness, a lanyard, a deceleration device, a lifeline, or suitable combinations of these.

Full Body Harness

For fall arrest, a full-body harness is necessary. Full-body harnesses disperse the force of a fall through the buttocks and thighs. Waist belts are no longer accepted as acceptable personal fall arrest devices. They can seriously harm internal organs during a fall arrest, including the spleen and pancreas.


Using lanyards, the harness is fastened to an anchoring point, such as a rope grab or a horizontal static line. Lanyards should be constructed either from rope or synthetic web straps. Never shorten a lanyard by tying knots in it. Knots greatly diminish a rope’s strength.

Rope Grabs

Mechanical rope grabs are used to attach lanyards to vertical lifelines. The majority of rope grabs have a device that, when the lanyard is suddenly tugged or dragged, clamps onto the lifeline.

Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers enable fall-arrest loads to be reduced by up to 50%. There are some built-in shock absorbers in the lanyard. The majority are constructed of webbing with tear-away stitching that gradually absorbs a load. They are necessary when using wire rope lifelines.


An anchor is a safe point of connection for a fall protection system. The right kind of anchor must be used for the job, and it must be installed properly. A personal fall arrest system must be designed, installed, and used in such a way that it maintains a safety factor of at least two and supports at least 5,000 pounds per employee attached.

Does Fall Protection Equipment Expire?

There are far too many variables for any mandate or rule to tell you when to throw away your safety equipment. However, here are some factors to consider. The impact of your sweat’s components (acid, alkalinity, and salts), the number of pollutants in the air, and general workplace conditions wear on your equipment. While it is only a suggestion, there is an industry standard of a 5-year expiration date when it comes to fall protection equipment. The competent or qualified person on site, who is aware of wear and tear brought on by slag, sun, sweat, etc., is the best person to advise an employer when to retire equipment.

Fall protection harnesses don’t have any kind of set or required expiration date. There are currently no guidelines or standards established by OSHA or ANSI that specify a particular time frame for removing a harness from service. Even the majority of manufacturers will not estimate the lifespan of a harness. Only you or a trained inspector can accurately determine when a harness needs to be removed from service. What decides its end of life is more significant than who makes that decision.

One thing to keep in mind is that most equipment can only be used for one fall. Once it has been involved in one fall arrest, it almost always has to be removed from service.

The Importance of Inspection

It is possible for fall protection equipment to get worn or damaged to the point where it is no longer safe to wear. This can apply to any flaws, such as rips, tears, bent hooks and latches, rust, and more. A harness that is worn daily won’t likely last five years by any means.

Fall protection equipment should be inspected regularly to ensure that it meets the highest standards of safety and does not fail in the event of a fall. Make sure you are having regular inspections. Equipment that is stored improperly may begin to degrade as a result of mildew, rodents, and other such dangers.

Safety Harness Inspection

Before each use, a safety harness inspection should be personally carried out. Both a visual check prior to each usage and a routine inspection by a qualified inspector are necessary. The equipment must be taken out of service and replaced before being utilized if any signs listed below are discovered. Your life might be saved in these few minutes.

Lanyard Inspection

Start at one end of the lanyard and make your way to the other when inspecting it. Rotate the lanyard slowly to inspect its whole circumference. Spliced ends need special consideration. Hardware should be inspected using the processes listed below.

Shock Absorbers Inspection

Check for burn holes and tears on the shock-absorbing pack’s outer layer. In the places where the pack is sewn to the belt, D-ring, or lanyard, the stitching should be checked for loose threads, tears, and wear.

A Final Comment

We at Hard Hat Training understand the need to be cost-effective. That is why we offer an OSHA Aligned training course on Fall Protection Certification to get you and your team the resources you need, in the format you choose and at a cost you can manage. Our online training may be completed in a timely two hours, or you can choose one of our DIY training kits or on-site training options for a more in-depth, tailored experience.