Full body fall arrest harnesses are designed for body support and form a component of a fall arrest system, to be used in situations where a fall from height is possible. This could be as simple as someone using a ladder, someone working on a roof, even if it is flat, or in a situation which is sometimes overlooked, someone at ground level where the fall might be into an opening in the floor or hole in the ground, such as a manhole or trench or another confined space.
Most common cause of workplace death
Falls from height were the most common cause of workplace death in the UK in 2020/21, accounting for 25% of all worker deaths over the year. Safety harnesses are used for either work restraint or fall arrest.
Work restraint is a system designed to stop the user from getting into a position where a fall is possible. Where work restraint is not reasonably practicable, personal protective equipment, (PPE) can be used to ensure that if a fall from height does occur, the fall distance is kept to a minimum, and forces are reduced to a level which is unlikely to injure the user.
In the hierarchy of control, work restraint needs to be considered before fall arrest, thus a fall arrest system should not be used if work restraint is possible. Work restraint systems must also be used where there is not sufficient height/ground clearance for fall arrest equipment to operate correctly.
All fall protection harnesses must conform to EN361:2002 Personal Protective Equipment against falls from a height.