How To Wear A Full Body Harness

October 25, 2020 By

How to wear a full body harness


Perry Manku

When working at height if a body harness is required then you should fully understand how it is worn. Many people think it is just a case of throwing on the harness and job one – wrong, there is a lot more to wearing a full body harness. Whilst every type of body harness – non-elasticised webbing or elasticated harness you still need to be aware of the safe use of a body harness.


The first thing you should be familiar with is the Dorsal plate at the rear of the harness. This can be made from rubber, plastic or even form part of the webbing pattern on the harness. The dorsal ring is the most important part as it prevents the ‘D’ ring from slamming you in the back of the head if you have a fall. The ‘D’ ring connects your harness to the anchorage point via attachments. Some body harnesses have an adjustment for height via buckles on the shoulder straps. With this type of harness a simple rule to follow is that you should not be able to touch the Dorsal Plate by reaching from behind your head, or by reaching up from the lumber or lower back region. More modern harness designs have taken away this feature to actually reduce misuse of the harness. The front of the harness should have a chest strap, some harnesses have a metal buckle, and possibly a ‘D’ ring on the front. This is to provide the user with a way of attaching to an anchor, or safe system of work, for example ladder systems. With this type of attachment it is important to note that if the harness is not worn correctly and the user falls then the ‘D’ ring can buckle and hit the wearer in the neck causing considerable injury. Some harness designs have replaced this ‘D’ ring with soft loops as a front connection, as this feature makes the harness safer for the user. So you put on the harness like you would a jacket. Adjust the chest strap so that it is not too tight but tight enough to be comfortable. The leg straps also need to be adjusted accordingly and again it is not a case of just stepping into them. If you are involved in a fall and the leg straps are slack then you can suffer extreme injury to the groin and legs as well as death. The easiest way to gage the correct tension of the leg straps is to tighten it until you can just about get 2 fingers between the webbing and your leg. Two finger tension means placing the middle and index finger perpendicular to the webbing around the front area of the leg. Finally, the most important thing to remember is to lock the harness securely. Each harness with a buckle used for adjustment should have at least one slider to lock it. That’s the plastic or rubber loop that slides up and down the webbing. If the harness is not locked and you are involved in a fall, the movement of the webbing through the buckle can cause the bar tack to shock load against it. The bar tack is rolled over and lightly stitched it is only there to keep the sliders and buckles on the harness. The energy, in a fall, may exceed the strength of this stitching and it will rip apart allowing the bar tack to unroll and pass through the buckle. The end result is that you will fall through the bottom of the harness. Even if you are wearing your harness correctly it is useless if it gets damaged in any way. Once damaged the whole purpose of it protecting you and keeping you safe will no longer apply. Always inspect your harnesses on a regular basis to ensure they fully comply with all health and safety regulations.

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How to wear a full body harness