Body support refers to fall protection equipment that directly supports the worker’s weight and maintains the body in a safe position during and after a fall event. Worker comfort, fit, and ease of use are key considerations in the selection of body support equipment like a full body harness that a worker may wear for extended periods during a work day.
Full body harnesses distribute fall arrest forces across the shoulders, upper thighs, chest, and pelvis. Fall arrest harnesses feature a dorsal D-ring for attaching to the connector such as a lanyard and may have other D-rings for use in worker positioning, travel restraint, retrieval or ladder climbing. They are the only form of body support acceptable for fall arrest and should be selected based on the job task as well as the work environment.
Body belts are strapped around the waist and are used for worker positioning, travel restraint or for added tool carrying options. While they may be used in conjunction with a full body harness, they must never be used for personal fall arrest.
A full-body harness is the single most important equipment choice you can make for your crew. Fall protection harnesses provide comfort and confidence, and directly affect the user's productivity. They come in general varieties that can be used in many applications, or may be specialized for specific uses within different industries.
A fall protection belt is a great choice for positioning, restraint or other situations where there is no possibility of a vertical free fall. Workseats, bosun chairs and seat slings are useful for inspection work, window washing, painting and maintenance.
Full Body Harnesses
The back D-ring is for fall arrest, included on all harnesses.
A front D-ring is the distinguishing factor of these harnesses, enabling connection to a ladder climbing safety system.
Positioning D-rings located on the hips are used with positioning devices and allow workers to use both hands.
A D-ring located on each shoulder strap facilitates upright rescue retrieval from confined spaces.
Descent harnesses typically have a front D-ring for use with descent control devices. Suspension/rigging harnesses also typically include a front D-ring but often also have extras such as side D-rings for positioning.
Body Belts and Workseats
Body belts and workseats complement other fall protection components. For example, many harnesses can accommodate a belt for added back support, tool carrying options and restraint or work positioning job tasks.
Work positioning belts include side D-rings located on each hip and hold and sustain you at a specific work location, limiting any free fall to two feet or less. Rebar tying and concrete wall-form work are typical applications.
Restraint belts are typically designed with a single, back D-ring. They are used as part of a system to help prevent workers from reaching an area where a fall hazard exists.
These belts can have D-rings to make them more versatile for use in work positioning for example, but often do not. They simply provide added back support and a location to attach tool and equipment pouches that is at waist level for easy reach.
Use a suspension workseat to support and hold you without any possibility of a free fall while you are being raised or lowered. Bosun chair jobs such as painting or window washing are common examples. Regulations require the use of a separate harness for fall arrest and secondary back-up lifeline with suspension supports.