The harness must meet fall arrest requirements as part of its function is to catch a welder as well as insulating them against the blast of an Arc Flash. The positioning of the five-point strapping system allows the worker to have an unlimited range of motion while they work and is scientifically developed to assist fall arrest systems with absorbing impact shock in the case of an arc flash explosion.
The grounding capabilities are what insulate the worker from the electrical current as it passes through the employee in the event of an arc flash explosion. The added fire retardant element assures that there is not a fire reaction between the worker's clothing, safety gear, and the electrical currents that could prevent the emergency safety equipment from working correctly. Being fire retardant also protects the harness from any potential stray embers as the welder performs his duties.
Who should wear an Arc Flash Harness?
Since an arc flash is potentially lethal, anyone who will be performing arch welding or standing anywhere near the welding location should wear an arc flash harness at all times while in the area. In addition to welders, anyone who works directly with electrical power lines needs to wear some type of grounding equipment such as an arc flash harness. Some professions that are known for wearing this form of safety equipment is:
High-Voltage Aerial Linemen
Telephone Line Repairmen
Bridge Construction Welders
High-Rise Construction Crews
Subway Line and Tunnel Maintenance Crews
Oil Rigging and Well Crews
These are all positions that either deal directly with massive amounts of electricity, or in a field that generates free electricity that can back flash without notice, making grounding technology a significant aspect of any safety gear.
High-rise construction crews fall into this equipment category because of the extensive amounts of static electricity, high winds, and electrical storms that they come into contact with while working at extreme altitudes. It is imperative that the equipment used by these individuals is rated for both arc flash explosions and fall arrest regulations to provide true effectiveness in case one occurs knocking the worker off of the building. This kind of accident could leave the worker stranded for quite some time until assistance can reach them, making it even more vital that the fall arrest aspect is in top working condition.
What to Look for in a Welders or Arc Flash Harness
Because of the particular dangers that an arc flash creates there are very specific features that you want your harness to have. All Arc Flash safety equipment needs to meet ASTM electric arc performance and ASTM dielectric standard ratings, as well as contain dielectric hardware (meaning buckles, clips, d-rings, etc.). Additional features that you may want are:
Reflective Striping or Trim – Reflective models increase your visibility when you are working in dark areas or at night. Reflection could be critical if you need to be located after a fall or explosion.
D-Ring Pad – This is an intentionally designed extra layer of padding that reduces back pressure caused by the resistance of the D-ring. The D-ring aspect minimizes web knotting for safer and more fluid movements.
Quick Connecting Leg Strap Buckles – Fast closure buckle closures on leg straps provide quick dressing and removal of equipment.
Front Rescue Loop – For quick securing in the case of an immobile or unconscious rescue is required.
Replaceable Flame Retardant Outer Shell – The flame retardant outer shell protects the inner working elements of the harness as it protects your workers from flying embers and sparks. The replaceable aspect eliminates having to buy a new harness unless the safety features have been damaged, and allows the operator to replace the fire retardant element as needed due to normal wear and tear from the job.
Cooling and Hydration Pocket – This pocket is usually located on the back of the harness and is intended to hold cold packs or an external hydration pack against the back to provide the worker with water and assist in preventing heat-related illnesses. When combining it with the hydration system, there is a bite valve tube that would be placed over the shoulder and clipped to the front of the harness for easy drinking capabilities as the individual continues working, eliminating the need to be lowered to the ground for hydration and increasing productivity as well as health safety.
When you are about to put your life on the line in a very literal fashion, you better know where your equipment came from and how it was made. That's why Harness Land researches each manufacturer before entering into the Authorize Dealer Registration process. They ensure that each manufacturer that they represent, no matter what kind of gear you need, meets or exceeds industry safety standards.
Safety standards are only the beginning, though. These companies manufacturing processes must also meet specific standards to ensure that your equipment is not only safe; it is durable and reasonably priced for Harness Land to carry their products in their warehouse product line.