Using a Safety Harness and Lanyard: Essential Tips and Guidelines

What is a Safety Harness and Lanyard?

safety harness

A safety harness and lanyard is a piece of safety equipment worn when working at heights to protect the wearer in case of a fall. The harness includes straps that go around the legs, chest, and shoulders, ultimately connecting to a secure anchor point, while a lanyard is a piece of shock-absorbing material that connects the wearer’s harness to the anchor point. In doing so, the lanyard prevents them from hitting the ground if they fall.

Safety harnesses and lanyards are critical safety items for any worker working at heights. Those who work on roofs, scaffolding, ladders and other elevated surfaces, as well as those who work near edges and holes that lead to lower levels, must wear safety harnesses and lanyards in order to reduce the risk of falling, which can cause serious and potentially fatal injuries.

Wearing a safety harness can help prevent the impact of a fall, which reduces the severity of injuries. Even in cases where injuries are unavoidable, a safety harness can help prevent the worker from falling from a height entirely, potentially saving their life.

When using a safety harness, it is critical to ensure that it is appropriately sized and adjusted to fit the wearer securely. Proper adjustment reduces the possibility of a worker slipping out of the harness in the event of a fall, while appropriate sizing will ensure that the straps don’t dig into the wearer’s skin or otherwise feel uncomfortable.

When selecting a safety harness and lanyard, ensure that they comply with the relevant safety standards, like the ANSI/ASSE Z359.1 standard. These standards are put in place to ensure that the equipment is designed and manufactured to provide maximum safety to the workers using it. It is also important to regularly inspect the harness and the lanyard for wear and damage, as this can compromise the effectiveness of the equipment. Any harness or lanyard that is damaged or worn should not be used and should be replaced immediately.

When using a safety harness and lanyard, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never use the equipment in a manner that it was not intended to be used. Additionally, always ensure that the anchor point or the structure used to secure the lanyard is robust enough to support the weight of the wearer in the event of a fall.

It is also important to ensure that there is enough clearance between the worker wearing the harness and any hazards below. This will help ensure that the lanyard is not snagged or otherwise impeded in the event of a fall, which can cause serious injuries.

Lastly, always practice the buddy system. This means that workers using safety harnesses must work together and watch each other’s backs. The buddy system helps ensure that if one worker falls, there will be someone there to attend to them and render aid immediately. It is crucial to follow the buddy system to minimize the risks associated with working at heights, as the stakes are simply too high to take chances.

Choosing the Right Safety Harness and Lanyard

safety harness

When it comes to selecting a safety harness and lanyard for your job, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to consider the type of work that you will be doing and the associated hazards. Secondly, the comfort and fit of the harness will need to be taken into account as this is crucial in ensuring that the harness is used correctly.

There are essentially two types of safety harnesses: fall restraint and fall arrest. Fall restraint systems are designed to prevent a worker from reaching a fall hazard, while fall arrest systems are designed to protect a worker who does fall. You should select the harness based on the nature of your job. If you are working on a flat roof with no significant drop, a fall restraint harness may be the best option. However, if you are working on a sloping roof or high structures, a fall arrest harness may be necessary to prevent injury from a fall.

The next thing to consider is the type of lanyard to use. Lanyards are the ropes that attach to the harness and are used to secure the worker. Again, the type of lanyard you use will depend on the nature of your job. There are generally two types of lanyards: rope and webbing. Rope lanyards are commonly used for vertical work, while webbing lanyards are generally used for horizontal work such as roof work. The length of the lanyard will also need to be taken into account, longer lanyards may be needed on larger job sites, while shorter lanyards may be used for smaller job sites.

The comfort and fit of the harness is also critical in ensuring that it is used correctly. The harness should fit snugly around the worker’s body and should not be too tight. This will help to ensure that the worker is comfortable while working and allows them to focus on the job at hand. It is also important to ensure that the harness is adjustable so that it can be loosened or tightened as needed.

When selecting a harness, it is important to consider the weight of the worker as well. Safety harnesses come in different sizes, and some models are designed to carry different weight ranges. It is important to select a harness that is designed to carry the weight of the worker. Apart from that, if the job requires the worker to wear heavy tools or carry bulky equipment, it is important to consider the type of harness that can accommodate it without compromising the worker’s safety.

In addition to these considerations, make sure that the harness and lanyard you select meet the relevant safety standards. Look for harnesses that meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard as well as those that are OSHA compliant. Make sure that the equipment is regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that it is functioning correctly and safe for use. Lastly, workers should be trained on the proper use of harness and lanyard to ensure that they use the safety equipment effectively.

In summary, choosing the right safety harness and lanyard is essential in ensuring that workers are protected from hazards while on the job. Consider the type of work, comfort, and fit of the harness, weight of the worker, safety standards, and training to identify the correct equipment to use. Investing in quality safety equipment can prevent accidents and save lives.

How to Wear a Safety Harness

safety harness and lanyard

A safety harness is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by people who work at heights or in dangerous environments, such as construction workers, window cleaners, and firefighters. A harness is designed to prevent falls and reduce the risk of injury. However, wearing a harness is not enough. One must also use a lanyard and attach it to a secure anchor point to ensure maximum safety.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly wear a safety harness and lanyard:

Step 1: Choose the Right Harness

Before putting on a harness, you need to know what type of harness you need. There are different types of harnesses available for different types of jobs, so always choose the right one for your job. Harnesses come in different sizes as well, so make sure you get the correct size that fits you properly. A poorly fitting harness can be dangerous.

Step 2: Inspect the Harness

Before wearing the harness, it is essential to inspect it for any damage or wear and tear. Look for any frayed or torn straps, broken buckles, or other defects that could compromise the safety of the harness. If any issues are found, do not use the harness and get a replacement.

Step 3: Put on the Harness

Here are the steps to put on the harness:

  • Unbuckle all straps and lay the harness flat on the ground, making sure the straps are not tangled.
  • Step into the leg loops and pull the harness up to your waist. The front D-ring should be at your sternum level.
  • Bring both shoulder straps over your shoulders and clip them together at the chest. Make sure the chest strap is snug but not too tight.
  • Adjust the leg straps so they are snug but not too tight. Make sure the harness fits snugly against your body and that there is no slack.
  • Adjust the shoulder straps so they are snug but not too tight. Make sure they are in line with your body and that there is no slack.
  • Step 4: Attach the Lanyard

    Once the harness is properly fitted, you need to attach the lanyard to a secure anchor point. Here are the steps:

  • Identify a secure anchor point such as a beam, anchor or beam clamp.
  • Connect one end of the lanyard to the back D-ring of the harness.
  • Connect the other end of the lanyard to the anchor point.
  • Make sure the lanyard is not twisted and has no slack.
  • Test the lanyard by pulling it. It should be secure and not move or come loose.
  • Repeat this step if you need to be attached to more than one anchor point. Make sure all anchors can safely support your weight.
  • Step 5: Test the Equipment

    Before using the harness and lanyard, it is essential to test the equipment to ensure it is working correctly. Once the lanyard is attached to the anchor point, carefully move around and test the harness and lanyard. Make sure everything is secure and comfortable. If there are any issues, fix them before starting work.

    Wearing a safety harness and lanyard is essential when working at heights or in dangerous environments. Remember to always choose the right harness, inspect it before use, and attach the lanyard to a secure anchor point. Following these steps will help ensure maximum safety and protection from falls or other accidents.

    How to Use a Lanyard with a Safety Harness

    Safety Harness and Lanyard Usage

    If you are working at height, it is essential to follow the best safety practices for your personal protection. Wearing a safety harness and lanyard can be a lifesaver in case of a fall accident, but using them correctly is equally important. The lanyard is a crucial component of a fall-arrest system, and it must always be hooked to an anchor point or a lifeline that can support your weight in case of a fall. Here’s how to use a lanyard with a safety harness:

    Choose the Right Lanyard

    Before you start using a lanyard, ensure that it is suitable for the job. There are different types of lanyards available in the market, such as shock-absorbing, non-shock-absorbing, and self-retractable lanyards. Choosing the right lanyard depends on the work environment, the type of job, and the weight of the person wearing it. You can consult with a safety expert to ensure that you select the right type of lanyard.

    Inspect the Lanyard

    Before every use, you must inspect the lanyard for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Check the stitching, webbing, and hardware for any signs of cuts, abrasions, or deformation. If you find any damage, do not use the lanyard, and replace it immediately. Also, ensure that the lanyard is compatible with the safety harness and hardware.

    Attach the Lanyard

    Once you have selected a suitable and inspected lanyard, attach it to the D-ring on the back of the safety harness. Ensure that the lanyard is correctly threaded through the loops on the chest and legs of the harness. Do not use the lanyard if it is twisted or tangled as it can cause entanglement. The lanyard must remain in a vertical position, and there should be no slack in the line.

    Hook the Lanyard to an Anchor Point

    After attaching the lanyard to the safety harness, hook it to an anchor point or a lifeline that can support the weight of the person wearing it. The anchor point should be at shoulder level or above to minimize the free fall distance. Ensure that the anchor point is secure, and the lanyard is hooked correctly to the anchor point. Do not hook the lanyard to guardrails, scaffolding, or any other point that is not designed to support the weight.

    Adjust the Lanyard Length

    The lanyard length must be adjusted to minimize the free fall distance in case of a fall. The free fall distance is the distance between the anchor point and the lowest point on the safety harness where the lanyard is attached. Adjust the lanyard length to ensure that the free fall distance is within the recommended limit. You can use a shock-absorbing lanyard that can decrease the impact of a fall on the body.

    Using a lanyard with a safety harness is a simple process that can make a big difference in case of a fall accident. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the safety regulations for your industry. Always inspect the equipment before use, and never use damaged or worn-out equipment. With the proper use of a lanyard and a safety harness, you can be confident and safe while working at height.

    Safety Tips for Working with a Safety Harness and Lanyard

    Safety Harness and Lanyard

    Working at heights can be dangerous, especially if proper safety measures are not taken. Safety harnesses and lanyards provide workers with valuable protection if they fall from height. However, to ensure your safety, it is important to properly use and maintain your safety harness and lanyard. Here are some helpful safety tips for working with a safety harness and lanyard.

    1. Know How to Properly Wear Your Harness

    How to Wear a Safety Harness

    Before using your safety harness, make sure you know how to properly wear it. Begin by adjusting the straps to ensure a comfortable fit. The chest strap should be snugly fastened, and the shoulder straps should be straight. Adjust the leg straps so that they fit snugly but do not pinch or rub. Remember, a poorly adjusted safety harness can lead to discomfort and potentially put you in danger.

    2. Inspect Your Harness Regularly

    Safety Harness Inspection

    To ensure that your safety harness can reliably protect you, you need to inspect it regularly before each use. Check that the straps are free of damage and are not worn out. Inspect buckles, connectors, and D-rings for signs of stress, damage, or rusting. If your safety harness shows any signs of damage, do not use it and replace it with a new one.

    3. Choose the Right Lanyard

    Safety Lanyard

    Make sure you choose the appropriate type of lanyard for the job. Different lanyards are designed to accommodate different types of work environments and fall arrest systems. Personal fall limiters, self-retracting lanyards, and shock-absorbing lanyards are some of the types of lanyards you can use. Remember that the length and strength of the lanyard need to meet specific requirements based on the job type and working environment.

    4. Plan for Safe Movement

    Safe Movement

    When using a safety harness and lanyard, plan your movement beforehand. Always work within the confines of the length of your lanyard and do not exceed the maximum weight capacity. Avoid jerky movements and also avoid twisting and tangling your lanyard while you work.

    5. Receive Proper Training

    Safety Harness Training

    It is important to receive proper training before using a safety harness and lanyard. Your employer should provide training on how to wear the safety harness correctly, adjust it, and how to inspect it before each use. You also need to know the correct procedures for safely attaching and detaching your lanyard. Proper training and regular refresher courses can help you prevent accidents and work safely at all times.


    A safety harness and lanyard are essential tools for working safely at heights. By utilizing proper use and maintenance techniques, you can be sure that your safety harness and lanyard allow you to work safely and confidently. Always take the necessary precautions and maintain a safe work environment.

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