Checking that your Harness is Fit for Use


Make sure that the general appearance is all in good order and the identification label is readable and displays all of the correct EN numbers for your intended purpose.

Any contamination that cannot be washed out using mild detergent at low temperature would render the harness not fit for purpose. This could be due to oils, chemicals, or even indelible marker pen. For a full descriptive list consult your supplier or the harness manufacturer, this relates to all nylon and webbing products.

Now run the webbing through your hand to check for any cuts or abrasions and make sure that all fittings are corrosion free. The front ‘D’, if it has one, and rear ‘D’ connector, should be of a uniform shape and not show any distortion or impact damage. On better quality harnesses the rear ‘D’ may have a tube that it runs through to stop wear to the webbing from the ‘D’s movement.

Harnesses are deliberately made from bright colours so degradation from sunlight will be obvious and harnesses like this should be discarded.

If your harness is a rescue harness like we have pictured it will have 2 EN numbers on its identification label. These will be EN361 which is for fall arrest and EN1497 which is for rescue.

The front and rear ‘D’ are the only places you can connect a fall arrest retrieve block. The extension strop can be used as your connection point if you are using a full man riding winch but cannot be attached to a fall arrest block.

If you are using a fall arrest retrieve block you cannot attach to the rescue strop in fall arrest mode as it is not certified for fall arrest.

A fall arrest retrieve block is not a full man riding winch.

Ensure that the harness size is correct for you as all manufacturers make different sizes.

Make sure that the harness is rated for your weight as it may not hold you in a fall if you are over the working weight it has been tested for.

Checking identification label Checking the webbing Checking fittings EN markings EN1497 extension strop
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