to Use a Retrieval Harness
retrieval harness, also known as a rope access and rescue harness, is
similar to a universal safety harness. These specialized harnesses
can be worn for emergency and rescue services, tower maintenance,
industrial rope access work, and more.
you put on a retrieval harness, inspect it thoroughly for any
excessive wear. This includes rusted hardware, frayed ends, or tears
in the material. You should never use a harness that was used during
a fall as it may have been damaged.
employer may ask you to manually inspect the harness or complete an
inspection checklist each time you are to wear the retrieval harness.
The inspection checklist may include an illustration of the harness
and include inspection of the webbing, D-rings, attachment of
buckles, tongues and grommets, tongue buckles, friction and mating
buckles, and lanyards.
retrieval harnesses are available in contrasting colors to help you
with orientation when putting the harness on quickly. Slide the
harness on like a vest and adjust the shoulder straps, so that the
rear D-ring sits between your shoulder blades. You can wrap each leg
strap around your thighs and adjust accordingly. Most leg straps use
either a belt buckle adjustment strap or a spring tension.
adjusting the straps, make sure they are a snug fit, but not too
tight. You should be able to slide your hand between the strap and
your leg, but not your entire fist. Some brands feature leg loops. In
this case, you will need to step through the waist portion of the
harness and into each leg loop and then adjust as needed.
will need to adjust the waist loop, so that the D-rings on the sides
sit on your hips to avoid falling out of your harness. Adjust the
chest strap, so that the D-ring sits at sternum level.
retrieval harness should come with easy-to-read instructions and your
employer should conduct a harness safety course or training prior to
using the retrieval harness on the job. Pay close attention to the
manufacturer’s guidelines regarding care, usage, and maintenance.
If you are not sure, ask your employer before using the retrieval
Use a Retrieval Harness
only will a retrieval harness prevent injuries and possible death on
the job, but it will also avoid steep OSHA penalties. In the 2015
Fiscal Year, OSHA identified Fall Protection as the number one
frequently cited standard. Out of the top ten OSHA violations, a
personal fall protection system in place could have avoided several
of those citations.
you plan to work in the general industry at elevations of four feet
or higher, you will need a personal fall protection system, according
to OSHA. Workers in shipyards need to take precautions with a fall
protection system at elevations of five feet and above while
construction workers should use a system at six feet and higher.
retrieval harness as part of your company’s fall protection and
fall arrest system can protect you from an accidental workplace death
or severe injuries. If you plan to work on roofs, towers, near holes
or skylights, or with dangerous equipment, consider using a retrieval
harness as part of your system.
retrieval harnesses are available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, and
Extra Large and are created from a durable material with a user
weight capacity of up to 310 pounds. Some brands provide a universal
fit, so adjust according to your shape and outerwear before using the
harness may feature locking quick-connect buckles or tongue buckle
grommet leg connections. Each piece of high-strength hardware should
be resistant to corrosion.
is an option with many retrieval harnesses. Choose a harness with a
padding that can withstand changes in temperature to avoid your
padding becoming brittle during the cold season. Some harnesses
provide removable padding.
retrieval harness may have lanyard keepers, sewn in lanyards, or
break-away lanyards. The chest strap may be in the shape of an “X”
making it easier to keep the straps on your shoulders.
on the brand, the retrieval harness may have fall arrest indicators
to alert you to any problems and for quick checking.
suspension work, consider the saddle feature on a retrieval harness.
Many are made with padding from a durable material for extra comfort
harnesses can be used with confined space equipment. These tripod
rescue systems typically use lifelines that are 50 to 60 feet in
length. Your employer should provide training prior to using a
confined space rescue system with your retrieval harness.
Benefits, Options, and Tips
retrieval harness may include a back pad for comfort during
suspension work. This pad may be removable.
may be able to purchase a retrieval harness with an integrated
hydration and cool pouch for longer climbs. Hydration packs are also
available as a separate feature and can hold up to 50 ounces of
overall material including the webbing of the retrieval harness
should be able to withstand the elements during different seasons as
well as be chemical and electrical conductivity resistant depending
on the nature of your job.
a rescue or evacuation mission, time is of the essence. Make sure
your retrieval harness is easy to put on over your clothing or
outerwear. You may want to practice this several times before having
to use the harness on the job.
retrieval harness you choose should meet OSHA regulations, fit
comfortably, and work with your company’s fall protection system.
You can opt-in for additional features, but make sure that these
options do not interfere with the harness system or get in your way
while you are working.