Can I wear fall protection equipment over my rainwear or winter gear?
Plain and simply, no. You should not wear your fall protection equipment over anything but your base layer of clothing. What’s your base layer? Think underwear, pants, shirt... alright, your socks too.
Why? Because equipment like your fall harness is designed to be worn as close to your body as possible. You want to make sure the fit is correct. Not only should your harness have a snug fit, so that you can’t wriggle out of it. But, you also want to reduce your risk of orthostatic intolerance. Which basically means that you don’t want straps digging into certain vital arteries.
Check out this quick review of the ABCD’s of Fall Protection:
- Anchor: Point of attachment
- Body Wear: Harness
- Connectors: Lifeline or lanyard connecting harness to anchor
- Descent & Rescue: Devices to raise or lower a fallen worker to safety
If you think about winter or wet weather clothing, it’s usually bulky, heavy, or slick. Would you want to rely on a safety harness that wasn’t flush with the body that it’s meant to protect? Hint... it’s called body wear for a reason.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re shaking your head saying, "So what the heck am I supposed to do when it’s -30°F or raining?" Well, the people that manufacture your safety apparel are pretty smart. They figured that if they wanted people to buy their products, they should make gear that people would actually wear.
So, they made these neat little pass-through holes in a bunch of fire-resistant garments, hi-viz apparel, winter wear, and rain gear that would allow a worker to don their harness snug to their body (like it’s supposed to) and still safely attach to connectors and lifelines.
D-ring pass-thru on the back for fall protection? Brilliant.
We aren't talking about papercuts. We're talking about life and death situations. So, it only makes sense to use safety equipment the right way. And if the big time manufacturers created a solution to the problem of inclement weather on the jobsite, we might as well use it.
Now you can stay warm and safe, without having to sacrifice either. Why can't everything else in life be this simple?
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