4 Most Important Body Harness Inspection Focus Points

4 Most Important Body Harness Inspection Focus Points

Gravity is stubborn. Regardless of your expertise, skill, or strength, your safety harness is literally your lifeline. While confidence helps when working off the ground, safety is paramount. Additionally, to be in compliance with OSHA’s Fall Protection standards under Subpart M of 29 CFR 1926.502, construction workers must use some type of fall protection when working 6 feet from the ground.

The preferred fall protection is the personal fall arrest system (PFAS). A system is made up of the ABC’: Anchorages, a Body harness, and any necessary Components such as lanyards, connectors, deceleration devices, and lifelines. You need be comfortable in your PFAS, and you need to be able to rely on it.  Be sure to give special attention to these often overlooked items when you perform your regular inspections.


With any perishable equipment, you need to first identify the label to ensure that you are using the equipment correctly, within its limits, and that you know who the manufacturer is (and that you trust that manufacturer). If the label is not present or is not legible, you should end the inspection and start looking for a new body harness.

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Webbing refers to the synthetic material that makes up parts of the PFAS like ropes, straps, and parts of the safety harness. Take any parts out of service if you see excessive wear. This is evident by filth, discoloration, frays, tears, and abrasions. Additionally, if any part of the webbing has evidence of mold or burns, you must retire it. Remember to carefully inspect the stitching, as well. If you see any broken fibers or threads pulled out of place, the harness does not pass inspection.

Impact Indicator

A safety harness might have an impact indicator sewn into the webbing. It is a certain kind of stitching that will come undone if the harness takes on a sudden load, as would be the case in a fall. You should retire a body harness once it has been through a fall.


The hardware on your systems includes D-rings, buckles, keepers, and back pads. Take the time to look closely at each piece. Parts in good working order will not be damaged. This means that the metal shouldn’t be distorted or cracked nor will it have sharp edges, burrs, or corrosion.

Checking these parts sets the groundwork for ensuring your safety harness is ready for use. If any of the parts of your system make you question its integrity, do not use it. If you must retire an untrustworthy harness, remember to destroy it before throwing it out so that it doesn’t let anyone else down – the hard way.




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