Whenever someone’s attempting to access high height areas, regardless be it climbing a mountain or working in construction, it’s of utmost important that the necessary safety precaution is in the form of fall protection. And even though there are significant differences between the fall safety equipment requirements for workplace and sport safety applications, it’s always beneficial to have a clear understanding of why certain equipment is best applied to one circumstance, but should never be applied to another.
Can I Use My Rock Climbing Harness in Industrial Settings?
No, because the rock climbing or mountaineering fall safety equipment (harness, ropes, etc), does not meet the standards of industrial fall safety equipment. Recreational climbers adhere to the equipment standards and guidelines set by the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, whereas for the industry standards, the guidelines are set by the OSHA. Both organizations are committed to providing the optimal safety features for all the participants involved.
What Should I Pay Attention to When Buying an Industrial Harness?
The main body of the harness is typically made of polyester or nylon, and it’s the first thing you should check before buying the harness. The harness should allow you to move freely, and the buckles that secure it to your body shouldn’t be sharp. The attachment points of the center bar and the roller should be able to move freely. Slots through which the webbing passes also need to be straight and free of sharp edges. People who work in industrial settings often times need to carry tools with them and access vehicles, storage units, buildings and machines. Moreover, these people only move with their feet, while climbers use both their hands and feet to secure themselves.
Can I at Least Use the Same Deceleration Device?
Again, the answer is – no. There’s a huge difference between what’s an acceptable deceleration device (rope, lanyard, etc) in rock climbing and in a workplace setting. In the workplace, falls need to be arrested through the use of either a self-retracting or rip-stitch lanyard. These are recommended because they provide an immediate and most controlled arrest of downward movement. In rock climbing, semi-stretchy or dynamic ropes are the best deceleration device.
What’s the Verdict?
The general concept of the working principle of fall protection gear is the same, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Always assess the situation before heading to risky dangerous heights. Industrial fall protection gear follows more strict regulations, and if you’re anywhere near a workplace where you’re a few meters above the ground – it’s best you own and wear fall protection equipment.