Shock load indicators deployed in harness during training

Shock load indicators deployed in harness during training

History of Harnesses

Fall protection harnesses have come a long way from the leather belts the tower industry started with. They come in all different colors and designs. The big daddy Cadillacs of the fall protection industry have knobs and buckles and all sorts of bells and whistles. Some of the most relevant advances are the wear and shock loading indicators.

With New Technology…

However, with all these bells and whistles comes a price.

The more complex a harness, the more awareness is required to properly use it. One such example is the shock load indicator on the Dorsal D ring that some harnesses come with. The truth is that it doesn’t take a great deal of force to “pop” the indicators on the Dorsal D Ring. Where this is relevant to training is in choosing a connection point from which to hang a volunteer or from which to rescue them.

Come Expensive Mistakes

There have been many instances where the Dorsal D Ring has been used during a training exercise and that ring’s shock load indicator has been “popped.” When I worked in the telecom industry as a tower climber, I saw our in-house trainer ruin 6 harnesses in a single day! It was not until we performed buddy checks on the next work site that this had been discovered. Beyond the cost of replacing the harnesses, this error caused delays in productivity as we could not climb in harnesses that showed evidence of shock loading.

It is important to understand the particulars of one’s harness so that a 2 day training course does not turn into a $3,000.00 lesson.

Be careful out there!

James Chiu

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