What Is The Minimum Height To Wear Safety Harness

At what height should you wear a harness?

In general, any activity that requires workers to work above ground level, where there is a risk of falling, is considered working at height. But, how high above ground level can they work before formal fall protection is required by law? In this article we answer that question and more, helping you and your workers to stay safe when working at heights.

  • So, at what height above ground are you required to wear fall protection? The law stipulates that suitable fall protection must be used when working at a height of 2m or above.
  • This might not seem that high, but significant injuries can occur when falling from this height, as it often happens rapidly, and unexpectedly.

Read on to learn more about fall protection, and when it should be used.

What is ISO work at height?

What is Working at Height? – Working at height refers to work where there is a risk to a worker’s health and safety associated with a fall from one level to another that is reasonably likely to cause injury to the person or any other person and could include:

In or on an elevated workplace from which a person could fall. In the vicinity of an opening through which a person could fall. In the vicinity of an edge over which a person could fall. On a surface through which a person could fall. In any other place from which a person could fall.

What are the inspection requirements for harnesses?

Key Takeaways –

  • All fall protection equipment should be inspected regularly, with a detailed inspection at least every twelve months.
  • Safety harness inspections can be completed by individuals deemed competent and could include external providers or trained and certified staff.
  • Any safety equipment that fails an inspection should be discarded and replaced immediately.

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What are the ANSI Z359 11 safety requirements for full body harness?

Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction-related accidents*, which makes properly wearing and using full body harnesses critically important to worker safety when working at height. ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2021 standard establishes requirements for full body harnesses including performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, test methods, inspection use, maintenance, and removal from service of full body harnesses.

A modified, headfirst, dynamic test procedure New stretch-out requirements for frontal connections Alternative fall arrest indicator testing and new label requirements Allowance for harnesses with integrated energy absorbers Changes to labeling requirements

MSA safety expert Rob Willis recently joined the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) “The Case for Safety” podcast to explain more about these recent ANSI standard updates and key things to consider when selecting and wearing a full body harness. Listen to the full podcast here: https://www.assp.org/news-and-articles/what-the-updated-z359.11-standard-means-for-full-body-harnesses

Is a safety harness required in a scissor lift?

Does OSHA Require Workers to Wear a Harness on a Scissor Lift? – OSHA considers guardrails to be scissor lift fall protection, partly because scissor lifts, in OSHA’s view, are considered scaffolding – not necessarily aerial lifts, Assuming there’s an adequate guardrail system in place, scissor lift harnesses aren’t required by OSHA, but for all other situations, a personal fall restraint system is mandatory.

At CertifyMeOnline.net, it’s our opinion that fall restraint safety systems should be used whenever possible. Even when a there isn’t a harness required on scissor lift, it’s a good idea to don PPE whenever possible. The reason harnesses aren’t always required while onboard forklifts and scissor lifts is that their reach capabilities are far less than boom lifts, bucket lifts and other aerial lifts.

These types of lifts are all used to raise and lower workers, cargo and equipment, but scissor lift platforms are larger and much closer to the ground than platforms on other aerial lifts and bucket lifts. Sturdy guardrail systems are generally all that’s needed to keep scissor lift operators from falling off the platform.

Do I need to wear a safety harness in a scissor lift?

When are harnesses needed? – Clunk Click – a worldwide IPAF safety campaign – warns against the ‘catapult effect’ when working in the basket of a platform. Even a small dip at ground level can travel up the boom lift to put your operator at risk – and it’s difficult, often impossible, to be certain that your ground conditions are completely flat.

  • Being aware of your surroundings is crucial, so that your machine doesn’t get caught in tight spaces to catapult your operator.
  • As such, although your site regulations may or may not require it, IPAF training experts recommend that harnesses should be used for boom lifts when a job specific risk assessment deems it necessary and should be regularly inspected as part of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER and PPE Regulations 1992).

Alternatively, if you’re using a boom lift over water, your risk assessment may advise instead to replace any harness with a life jacket, so should the operator fall then they are protected from the immediate danger. If you’re using a vertical or scissor lift, however, it’s not always necessary to use fall protection equipment – like a harness – unless called for by exceptional circumstances.

Do you wear a safety harness in a scissor lift?

Scissor Lift Safety Harness Requirements: When to Wear a Harness – Scissor lift operators should wear a harness any time a guardrail system is missing or insufficient. When in doubt, scissor lift operators should err on the side of caution and wear a harness as well.

Do you need fall protection at 4 feet?

What can be done to reduce falls? – Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations.

Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover). Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway. Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured. Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

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OSHA requires employers to:

Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers. Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition. Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers. Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.

What is the minimum distance for fall protection?

II. Fall Arrest Systems – Fall arrest systems are designed to prevent or reduce injuries when a worker falls from an elevated height.

  1. Safety Net Systems Safety net systems (see Figures 12 and 13) are an option when workers are working at elevated heights with hazardous vertical drops (see Table 3). Safety net systems are commonly used during work on bridges and large structures. The nets are available in various sizes and materials, including materials resistant to ultraviolet deterioration. Table 2. Safety Net System Dimensions
    Vertical Distance from Working Level to Horizontal Plane of Net Minimum Required Horizontal Distance of Outer Edge of Net from Edge of Working Surface
    Up to 5 feet 8 feet
    More than 5 feet, up to 10 feet 10 feet
    More than 10 feet, up to 30 feet 13 feet
    More than 30 feet Safety net not permitted as fall protection
    (See: 29 CFR 1926.502(c)(1), (c)(2) )

    Figure 12. Safety net system. Figure 13. Safety net system.

  2. Personal Fall Protection Equipment for Personal Fall Arrest Systems A PFAS is a system with components that work together to protect workers when they fall from elevated heights. PFAS components include an anchorage, connectors, and a full-body harness, and may include a shock-absorbing lanyard, a retractable lifeline, and/or a deceleration device (see 29 CFR 1926.500(b) ). PFAS components will be marked by the manufacturer with pertinent information specific to the equipment, such as warnings, serial/model number, capacity, and the materials used to make the component (see Figure 14). Information (e.g., proper use, maintenance, inspection) about fall protection components is typically provided in equipment manuals. Although some components may look the same, they may not be interchangeable if they are from different manufacturers or from different equipment series made by the same manufacturer. Figure 14. Examples of manufacturers’ labels for various types of fall protection equipment.
    1. Component Compatibility Personal fall protection system effectiveness relies on component compatibility. Often, components are supplied together as a set. Using non-compatible fittings can lead to damage and system failure (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(5) ). A compatibility assessment should be performed when using fittings from different manufacturers or different product lines from the same manufacturer. This includes assessing the way fittings connect to each other and confirming with the manufacturer(s) that the fittings can be used together safely. For additional information see: Compatibility of Personal Fall Protection System Components, OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin. Many factors can contribute to a workers’ risk of falling from an elevated work area. Examples include precarious work positions, excessive leaning or reaching, improper work practices, unstable structures, trip hazards, slippery surfaces, and distractions. When guardrails are not an option, personal fall protection equipment is helpful in some situations, but only when properly selected, worn, and attached to an adequate anchor point. A personal fall arrest system was not a good choice in this case. In the illustration below, the trusses were not fully installed, braced and sheathed, so they did not form a sufficiently strong anchor point. The structure collapsed when it received the sudden force of the falling worker. The fall hazard could have been eliminated by pre-assembling the truss sections (groups of several trusses) on the ground or using special devices that serve as temporary bracing for fall arrest equipment.
    2. Anchorage Anchorage systems normally include, at a minimum, a building structure and an anchorage device to which the worker will tie off (see Appendix C). Anchors are fixed to a strong structural member. Anchors are not effective if they are attached to weak materials. Certain structural members may not be strong enough to hold the sudden weight imposed by a falling worker. The anchorage manufacturer should provide instructions on anchor installation (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(15) ; 29 CFR 1926.1423(g) ). Many anchors are removed when they are no longer needed. Other anchors are designed to be left in place for future use (e.g., repeated servicing), or are covered over during the job (e.g., with roofing shingles), or are cut flush with the surrounding surface (e.g., concrete bolt-style anchor protruding from a wall). Appendix C provides fall protection anchor examples. (See 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M, Appendix C(II)(h), Tie-off considerations)
    3. Lanyards A lanyard is a flexible rope, wire rope, or strap which generally has a connector at each end for connecting the body belt or body harness to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage point (see 29 CFR 1926.500(b) ). Some manufacturers offer adjustable length lanyards. Effective lanyards are maintained in a clean, intact condition, and inspected prior to each use for wear, tear, and any obvious distortion or signs that the fall arrest (energy-absorbing) system has been activated (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(21) ). Inspecting a lanyard involves beginning at one end and continuing to the opposite end. During an inspection, the lanyard is slowly rotated so that its entire circumference is checked. Spliced ends require particular attention. Lanyards used for personal fall protection are not to be used for hoisting materials. Equipment used for hoisting is not suitable for use in a fall protection system (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(18) ).
      1. Deceleration Device A deceleration device is a mechanism (e.g., tearing or deforming lanyards) that serves to dissipate energy during a fall to limit the energy and stress imposed on a worker during a fall. Deceleration occurs over a maximum distance of 3.5 feet (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(16)(iv) ). Deceleration devices vary widely. Examples include:
        • Self-retracting lanyard, A self-retracting lanyard/lifeline contains a drum-wound line which can be slowly extracted or retracted. The lanyard extends as necessary to allow the worker to move about the work area, but retracts as necessary to maintain slight tension, preventing the line from becoming slack. The drum is under slight tension during normal worker movement and automatically locks the drum when the line is extracted too rapidly (see 29 CFR 1926.500(b) ). Self-retracting lanyards and lifelines that limit free fall to two feet or less need to sustain, at a minimum, 3,000 pounds applied to the device with the lanyard in the fully extended position (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(12) ). Self-retracting lanyards that do not limit free fall to two feet or less need to sustain, at a minimum, 5,000 pounds applied to the device with the lanyard in the fully extended position (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(13) ). Some retractable lifelines provide a deceleration (energy-absorbing) function. These lifelines can include a feature that slows the fall over a distance of up to 3.5 feet (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(16)(iv) ).
        • Rip-stitch lanyards, A rip-stitch lanyard has extra webbing incorporated into the lanyard. The extra webbing is stitched into place and folded lengthwise along the lanyard. During a fall, the weaker stitching allows the folded webbing to pull away at a controlled speed, slowing the fall.
        • Shock-absorbing lanyards, The webbing in a shock-absorbing lanyard is designed to stretch as it receives the worker’s falling weight. The stretching action breaks the fall in a controlled manner.
        • This is not an all-inclusive list of lanyards. OSHA expects that emerging lanyard technology will continue to improve safety in the workplace.
    4. Vertical and Horizontal Lifelines A lifeline is a component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline) or for connection to anchorages at both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a PFAS to the anchorage (see 29 CFR 1926.500(b) ). Vertical and Horizontal Lifelines Lifelines function as an extension of an anchorage system, allowing an employee to move up and down (vertical lifeline) or back and forth (horizontal lifeline) across a work area. A sliding fitting (rope grab or shuttle) connects to the line and a lanyard connects the worker’s harness to that sliding fitting. Vertical lifelines require active participation by the worker, who must often reposition the rope grab when moving to a new position. Vertical lifelines remain connected to a set anchorage point while the lanyard moves with the worker. If the worker falls, the clip locks (cable grab) to the lifeline and stops the worker from falling further. When vertical lifelines are used each worker generally needs to be attached to a separate lifeline (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(10) ). Horizontal lifelines require special attention during design and installation to: (1) limit the distance the worker can fall (a greater sag in the line can mean a farther fall); and (2) minimize the forces on the connectors at the anchorage (a greater sag in the line can mean lower forces on the anchorage connectors at either end). A qualified person must supervise the horizontal lifeline’s design, installation, and use (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(8) ). Depending on their geometry and sag angle, horizontal lifelines may be subjected to greater loads than the impact load imposed by an attached component. When the horizontal lifeline’s sag is less than 30 degrees, the impact force imparted to the lifeline by an attached lanyard is greatly amplified. For reference, a 15-degree sag angle amplifies the force approximately 2:1. A 5 degree sag angle amplifies the force approximately 6:1. See 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M, Appendix C for more information. When a horizontal lifeline is used for multiple tie-offs, if one worker falls, the lifeline’s movement may cause other workers to fall. OSHA is aware of emerging fall protection technology, such as pre-manufactured horizontal lifelines, that will continue to improve workplace safety.
    5. Full-Body Harnesses Harnesses include shoulder straps and leg straps, a sub-pelvic assembly, adjustable buckles or fasteners, and one or more D-rings to connect to a lanyard. The dorsal D-ring (between the worker’s shoulder blades) is used with a fall arrest system. D-rings in other positions are sometimes included for use with ladder safety devices. For this reason, some harnesses come with D-rings on the front, sides, and lower back. A safe and effective harness will fit (i.e., be the correct size) and is adjusted so that all straps are snug (see Figure 15). Dangling leg straps or arm straps are signs that the harness is not being worn correctly. The sub-pelvic assembly transfers the forces during a fall or suspension to the worker’s sub-pelvic region. Although adjustable, some models come in different sizes and may be gender specific. Figure 15. Simple steps to fitting a full body harness
    6. Body Belts A body belt is a wide band that buckles around the hips with means both for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to a lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device. Body belts serve as positioning devices that position a worker so the person can perform a job safely in a vertical work position. Body belts are designed to hold a worker in place and reduce the possibility of a fall (see 29 CFR 1926.502(e) ; 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M, Appendix D ).
    7. Ladder Safety Devices Ladder safety devices or systems are used to climb fixed ladders. The system includes a body harness, carabiner, carrier rail, and safety sleeve. Ladder safety devices are available as a cable (i.e., vertical lifeline) or fixed rail system (see Figure 16 and 29 CFR 1926.1053(a)(18), (a)(22), (a)(23) ). The worker wears a body harness attached to the system by a carabiner. The system uses a cable/safety sleeve, shuttle, or cable grab specifically designed to attach the climber to the vertical line or rail. The cable grab or shuttle freely travels up or down the lifeline/rail as the worker ascends or descends the ladder, allowing the worker to maintain full contact with the ladder. If the worker falls, a locking cam or friction brake in the cable grab or shuttle locks onto the cable or rail and arrests the fall. Typically, cable and fixed rail systems are permanently attached to the ladder or supporting structure. The cable (flexible carrier) or rail (rigid carrier) is attached by mountings at the top and bottom of the fixed ladder, with intermediate mountings or cable guides for added strength. Existing ladders may be retrofitted with commercially available ladder climbing systems. A ladder climbing system should not be confused with a “climb assist” system, which consists of motorized equipment that ascends the ladder and partially bears the worker’s weight. Some, but not all, climb assist systems incorporate fall protection features. Figure 16. Ladder safety device.

    Figure 17. Worker suspended in harness prior to rescue.

  3. Fallen Worker Rescue An effective fallen worker rescue plan addresses the procedures, equipment, and personnel needed to ensure that a rescue proceeds quickly and efficiently when a fall occurs. Even when a PFAS works properly, the fallen worker is still in danger. The worker’s body weight places pressure on the harness straps, which can compress the veins, and cause blood to pool, in the lower extremities and reduce blood return to the worker’s heart (see Figure 17). This condition is called suspension trauma, also known as harness hang syndrome. In medical terms, this results in orthostatic intolerance. If the pressure is not reduced promptly, the worker can lose consciousness within minutes. (See Suspension Trauma/Orthostatic Intolerance, OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin. See Washington Industrial Safety & Health Division’s Fall Protection Responding to Emergencies, Self-rescue and aided rescue are two techniques for rescuing a suspended worker. Rescuing the worker promptly (i.e., aided rescue) or ensuring the worker can self-rescue is imperative to preventing injury or a fatality (see 29 CFR 1926.502(d)(20) ).
    1. Aided Rescue A worker who is suspended from a lifeline and cannot perform a self-rescue will need help from trained rescuers using appropriate equipment, including appropriate fall protection. Off-site emergency response personnel may rescue suspended workers, although most 911 responders are not trained in how to do so.
    2. Self-Rescue With proper personal fall protection equipment, training and practice, a fallen worker can take steps to minimize suspension trauma. Self-rescue methods allow a fallen worker to temporarily relieve pressure on the legs or in some cases to even lower himself or herself to the lower level. Self-rescue methods are discussed in detail in Washington Industrial Safety & Health Division’s Fall Protection Responding to Emergencies,

What is the recommended height of work surfaces?

Your ideal desk height – Ideal work surface height is dependent upon your height, the tasks you perform, and the equipment and tools you use. You should be able to maintain a forearm-to-upper arm angle between 70 degrees and 135 degrees. Most people prefer a slightly higher surface for handwriting and a slightly lower surface for keying. Computer touch-typists doing intensive data entry prefer lower desks, often below elbow height. Hunt-and-peck typists (those who have to see the keyboard to use it) and those working with computer graphics prefer higher desks.M/p> If your task requires some upper arm force, your work surface should be below elbow height (e.g., stapling, stamping, packing). For fine motor tasks involving hands and eyes (e.g., hunt-and-peck typing styles, handwriting, small parts assembly, jewelry repair) the surface should be higher. Most work surfaces are a standard 28″ to 30″, which is a good sitting height for most people between 5’8″ and 5’10” tall who use conventional task chair. If you are taller or shorter, be prepared to change your work surface height. If you use a saddle seat or perch, the work surface must be quite a bit higher.

Who should wear a full body harness?

Did you know? – The maximum fall arresting force that can be transmitted to the body of a worker through a full-body harness is 1,800 lbs (8 kN). It is important to always wear a full-body harness when working at heights as it can prevent a fall that could have resulted in a fatality if not worn.

Always ensure to do a full inspection of the condition of the harness before you start working at heights. Make sure the straps sit comfortably around your body to ensure that no blood circulation is cut off. Watch this video and see what inspection checks need to be done beforehand and how the harness is put on: Whenever you are moving around on scaffolding remember to ensure that you are always safely connected to guardrails.

When should the harness be replaced? The harness should be properly inspected before each use to ensure there is no damage or deformation to the harness. A harness that has been subjected to impact forces after a fall should be immediately withdrawn from use.

A harness should also be withdrawn and replaced if damage or deformation is suspected. A full-body harness has a maximum usable life of 5 years and should be withdrawn from service and rendered unusable no later than 5 years after the manufacturing date according to SANS regulations (SABS – SANS 50361:2003).

For a full course on working at heights, you can visit our website to contact us.

Do I need a harness in a man cage?

A workbox is designed to be supported by a crane, hoist, forklift truck or other mechanical device to provide an elevated work area for persons working from the box. It consists of a platform surrounded by an edge protection system and should be designed in accordance with AS 1481:17 Cranes (including hoists and winches) – Design and construction of workboxes,

  • the workbox is not suspended over persons
  • the workbox is designed for the task and securely attached to the crane. The workbox, lifting attachments and records should be checked by a competent person before use
  • the workbox is fitted with suitable anchorage capable of withstanding the fall forces specified in AS/NZS 1891.4 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices – Selection, use and maintenance, Workers must be attached to the anchorage by a lanyard and harness unless the workbox if fully enclosed
  • workers remaining within the workbox while they are being lifted or suspended
  • workers do not enter or leave the workbox when it is suspended (except in emergency)
  • the crane if fitted with the means to safely lower it in an emergency or a power supply failure
  • the crane is suitably stabilised at all times while the workbox is used
  • the crane has “drive up” and “drive down” control on both the hoisting and luffing motions and those controls are used. No declutching allowing free fall is to be used while a workbox is in use
  • an effective means of communication between any person in the workbox and the operator is provided
  • the crane is fitted with a safety hook and moused (lashed) accordingly
  • the operator remains at the controls of the crane at all times

For specifications for the use of crane workboxes refer to AS 2550.1 Cranes, Hoists and Winches—Safe Use—General Requirements, Forklifts with a workbox A workbox fitted to a forklift must be securely attached to the forklift carriage and engineer-designed and constructed in accordance with AS 2359 Powered industrial trucks Safety considerations include that:

  1. people are not raised on the tynes of forklift trucks or the pallet
  2. no other device (for example, ladder or pallets) is used to gain additional height (see Figures 13 and 14)
  3. the safety gate is self-locking and kept shut when in the elevated position.

BUILDING MAINTENANCE UNITS Designers of buildings should consider the methods by which maintenance, repairs or cleaning will be undertaken on buildings or structures. A building maintenance unit is a power-operated suspended working platform that is fixed permanently to a building or structure.

  • the platform has sufficient, clearly designated safety harness anchorage points designed to withstand the forces by a fall of any person anywhere on the platform
  • the units are designed in accordance with AS 1481.13 Cranes (including hoists and winches) Building Maintenance Units and operated by a competent person in accordance with AS 2550.13 Cranes – Safe Use – Building Maintenance Units