There is simply no way to work safely at heights without adequate fall protection equipment, and the last line of defense is the personal fall arrest system. These systems consist of a few different pieces, such as anchors, connectors, and lanyards. But it's the safety harness that attaches the entire apparatus to the worker. If the harness fails, then, the entire fall arrest system won't protect the user.

Safety harnesses, then, are critical. But they will only work as intended if they are fitted properly. In this article, we'll go over the six-step process to donning a full body harness, along with pictures to demonstrate each step.

Step 1: Shake Out the Harness

Fitting a full body safety harness

Hold the harness by the dorsal D-ring and shake the it to allow the straps to fall into place.

Step 2: Undo the Buckles and Release Straps

Fitting a safety harness - undoing straps

If the chest, leg, or waist straps are buckled, unbuckle them and release the straps.

Step 3: Don and Adjust Straps

Putting on a full body safety harness

Slip the straps over your shoulders and adjust the fit so that the D-ring is located in the middle of the back, between the shoulder blades.

Step 4: Connect the Leg Straps

Full body safety harness leg straps

Connect or buckle the leg straps.

To fasten a tongue buckle, pass the webbing through the buckle and insert the tongue through grommet.

To fasten a parachute buckle, pass the webbing under buckle, over the roller, and down between the roller and frame. Pull the end webbing to tighten. At least three inches of webbing must extend past the buckle.

To fasten a pass style buckle, pass the male buckle through female buckle and pull the free end of the webbing to tighten.

To fasten a quick connect buckle, insert the tab of the buckle into the receptor of the quick connect buckle until you hear a click.

No matter the type of buckle on your harness, the leg straps should fit snuggly and allow you to stand up straight without impingement. As a general rule, you should be able to fit your hand between the strap and leg.

If the harness has a waist strap, it should be connected after the leg straps.

(Find out How to Inspect Your Fall Harness When Working Alone.)

Step 5: Connect the Chest Strap

Full body safety harness chest straps

Connect the chest strap and adjust the fit so that the strap crosses the middle of the chest. The straps should fit snuggly and allow the shoulder straps to remain taut.

Free Download: Construction Fall Safety Checklist

Step 6: Adjust the Straps

Full body safety harness adjust straps

Once all the straps are connected and buckled, adjust them so the harness fits snuggly but allows a full range of motion. If any straps hang down after adjustment, use the loop keepers to keep them out of the way.

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