How to Check Safety Harness Expiry Date

Safety harnesses are a crucial part of any job that requires working at heights. They save lives and prevent injuries, but it’s essential to check the expiry date of your safety harness regularly. In this article, we will explain why it’s necessary to check the expiry date of your harness regularly and how to do it.

Why Checking the Safety Harness Expiry Date is Important

The safety harness is a personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect workers from falls when working at heights. Over time, the harness can deteriorate from exposure to sun, moisture, and other elements encountered on job sites. The harnesses worn in the workplace must meet the standards set by the regulatory agency such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When the harnesses are not replaced as per OSHA guidelines, they fail to meet industry standards and compromise workers’ safety.

Several factors can affect the lifespan of a safety harness. Some of these factors include exposure to chemicals, extreme temperatures, and stretching, among others. The manufacturer provides an expiration date to indicate when the harness can no longer be used safely.

Workers may use the same harness for years without experiencing any problems, and thus it’s essential to check harnesses for wear, damage, and age. It is not advisable to take a chance with a harness that has a passed expiry date. If the harness fails, injuries may be irreparable or lead to death.

How to Check the Expiry Date of Your Safety Harness

Checking the expiry date of your safety harness is easy. The following steps can guide you through the process:

Step 1: Check the Label on the Harness

Nearly all the harnesses have labels or tags containing relevant information about the product. For instance, the label may have information on the manufacturer’s name, model number, and date of manufacturing. The expiry date is printed on the label alongside the product’s information.

Step 2: Check the Manufacturer’s Instructions

The manufacturer also includes instructions on how to maintain the harness and ways to inspect the product. Follow the guidelines provided by the manufacture regarding the expiry date of the harness. For instance, if the manufacturer recommends replacement after a certain period, follow their recommendations.

Step 3: Check the Expiry Date on the Harness

The expiry date of the harness is typically printed on the label attached to the harness. Most harnesses come with a lifespan of five to ten years. If you cannot find the expiry date printed on the harness, refer to the manufacturer’s manual to identify the lifespan of the harness.

Step 4: Complete Risk Assessment

Before starting any work, conduct an assessment of the workplace to identify any potential fall hazards. Asses the equipment you will be using in conjunction with your harness like anchor points on a roof or ladders. Ensure that all the equipment works correctly and is in good condition.

Step 5: Check the Harness for Damage

Apart from checking the expiry date of the harness, inspect the harness for damage. Check for cuts, burns, wear, and tears on the webbing of the harness. Inspect the buckles for damage or corrosion—the D-rings for deformation and cracks. If you find any defects, ensure to replace the harness.

Precautions When Using Safety Harnesses

When using safety harnesses, observe the following precautions:

1. Proper Fitting: The harness you select must fit correctly and comfortably on your body. Ensure that the straps sit appropriately without gaps and that the chest strap does not sit too close to the neck.

2. Use with Appropriate Equipment: The safety harness must be used in conjunction with other equipment that is also in its optimal condition. Do not use equipment that is expired or worn-out.

3. Conduct Regular Inspections: Ensure that you regularly inspect the harness, including the anchor points and hardware.

4. Use the Correct Attachment Point: Attach the lanyard or lifeline to the designated attachment point only.

5. Use the Correct Harness: The type of harness used must be suitable for the work being undertaken. For example, a harness meant for roofing may differ from that meant for tree climbing.

Conclusion

Safety harnesses save lives and prevent injuries when working at heights. However, their effectiveness relies on their condition. A harness that has expired or is worn-out can compromise the worker’s safety leading to injury or death. As such, it’s essential to check the expiry date regularly, conduct inspections, and replace harnesses as recommended by the manufacturer. Always conduct a risk assessment before working and use the proper equipment and attachment points. Do not compromise safety for convenience.

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