ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2021 – Safety Requirements for Full Body Harnesses
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This standard establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, test methods, inspection, use, maintenance and removal from service of full body harnesses (FBH). FBHs protect workers from falls from height. They can facilitate fall arrest, positioning, travel restraint, suspension and/or rescue applications for users within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds (59 to 140kg).
Z359.11 defines a full body harness as “a body support designed to contain the torso and distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the upper thighs, pelvis, chest and shoulders.” FBHs are used for fall arrest, positioning, travel restraint, suspension and/or rescue applications for users within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds.
Falls occur in many industries. In the construction industry they are – consistently – the leading cause of fatalities, which has earned them recognition as one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four” – the top killers of construction workers. When properly fitted and worn and used correctly, FBHs can help prevent serious injury or death at worksites.
OSHA requires workers to wear a FBH, (one part of a Personal Fall Arrest System) when they are working on a suspended scaffold more than 10 feet above the working surface, or when they are working in bucket truck or aerial lift.
About the Standard
The original edition of ANSI/ASSP Z359.1 — one of the first standards in North America to require the full body harness in a fall arrest system — was first published in 1992. This standard, which is applicable to fall-from-height situations, was updated in 2021. The title of the revised version reflects the name change of the American Society of Safety Engineers to the American Society of Safety Professionals in 2018.
Changes to the original edition include requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, test methods, inspection, use, maintenance and removal from service of FBHs.
This standard applies to FBHs used in occupations requiring personal protection against falls from heights. This standard applies only to FBHs and auxiliary equipment designed specifically for use as part of the FBH.
ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2021 will be useful to manufacturers, distributors, purchasers and users of FBHs, along with relevant testing, certifying and regulating bodies. Purchasing an ANSI-rated harness can give safety professionals assurance that the device has certain design requirements and has been rigorously tested.
The standard also requires harness label packs to have pictograms that show the approved usage of different connections and diagrams explaining the difference between deployed and non-deployed visual load indicators.
Function, Fit and Training
FBHs that are well designed and manufactured will not provide the desired level of protection if the type chosen is not appropriate for the application or working environment. There are FBHs designed specifically for fall arrest, and to keep the worker in an upright position. Others provide support while a worker is being raised or lowered at a worksite or during entry and exit from confined spaces. There are also FBHs for climbing and those that keep a worker’s hands free for performing a task while holding them at a specific location.
A FBH must also fit properly if it is to provide the protection needed. Check manufacturers’ sizing charts to find devices compatible with a worker’s height and weight. The D-ring should be centered between the shoulder blades and shoulder straps evenly spaced, with no slack in them. The leg straps must be snug. All of these elements are adjustable using FBH features like D-rings and buckles. The wearer should enjoy a full range of motion while wearing the FBH.
Workers must be trained on how to wear and use the full body harnesses correctly.
For more information, visit the ASSP web store at https://store.assp.org/. WMHS
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