When does a safety harness reach the end of its service life? What are the telltale signs? When safety is on the line, you need answers. For that reason, experts took the time to answer your questions.
Do fall protection harnesses have an expiry date?
The answer is both yes and no.
Although protection equipment, such as harnesses, doesn’t have an expiry date, such as food found in your fridge or pantry, some manufacturers follow instructions to inspect and replace their equipment.
An expiry rule of five years existed previously for safety harnesses. However, the rule was removed in 2012 as it had been defined that the validity of safety harnesses depended on regular inspections and compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Who can inspect safety harnesses and how often should it be done?
In addition to being examined every day by the wearer, each safety harness must be verified and inspected at least once a year by an accredited agency. It is important to remember that there are only two people who can really know if your harness is no longer safe: you and a competent inspector.
What defines the end of service life of a safety harness
Knowing who can determine the end of life of a harness is one thing, but the criteria for it are even more critical. Only when performing regular inspections, can you determine it.
If you notice abnormal wear during an inspection, you can consider that your harness is approaching the end of its useful life.
What is the right method to inspect a safety harness?
First, inspect all straps and seams. Check if there are cuts, fraying, pulled or broken threads, burns, heat or chemical burn marks.
To ensure an optimal inspection, it is suggested to start at one end of the strap. With your hands eight inches apart, take the strap and bend it. Then, examine all metal and plastic components. Your harness buckles must connect and disconnect freely. Make sure there is no damage or missing/separate components.
Once the inspection of metallic elements is complete, check the load indicator. If the label is torn, even only partially, it means the harness had been subject to a fall and no longer offers proper protection. Immediately remove it from service.
The top priority is your safety
Don’t let defective equipment increase your risks of severe injuries. Be thorough and check your equipment. You are in complete control of the expiry date of your harness.