If you're new to the construction industry or curious about the different types of harnesses on the market, then you've come to the right place. Today we're going to look at the 3 main types of harnesses so you can get a better idea of the harnesses we offer. Once you know what different harness types are used for, you'll be able to select the one that's most appropriate for you. 

Different safety harnesses are designed for different work environments, industries, and working methods - it's not a one-size fits all situation! Some harnesses are designed to keep you positioned correctly while you work at height, while others are designed to distribute force across your body in the event of a fall. Whatever harness you are wearing, it's there to make your working at height experience safer and more comfortable. If you're unsure what type of harness you need for a particular job, we hope we can help by giving you an overview of the 3 most common types of harness.

fall protection harness

Fall Protection

The first type of safety harness, which is predominantly used on construction sites in tangent with fall arrest systems, is fall protection harnesses. These harnesses are designed to support your body and distribute the shock of a fall evenly across your body to reduce the chance of injury. All fall protection harnesses are tested and certified against the European Standard (EN 361) so that you can be confident they will work correctly in your time of need.

It's recommended that you wear a fall protection harness while you're working on a stable surface, for example, a scaffold, or a roof. These harnesses aren't designed to suspend you in the air - unless it's an emergency. Fall protection harnesses usually feature a connection point (or connection points) at the front or rear. You can then connect your harness to the anchor point with a suitable lanyard, so if you do fall, you'll be caught straight away and suspended in the air until someone can come to rescue you. Always check the maximum weight that a safety harness can safely hold before making a purchase. 

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work positioning harness


The harnesses that fall into the positioning category are not dissimilar to the fall protection harnesses we looked at earlier. The main difference is that they feature a positioning belt that goes around your hips to provide additional support while you work at height. Positioning harnesses are ideal if you're going to be climbing a vertical face.

The lanyard that connects you to the anchor point will connect to your work positioning belt. Having this connected slightly lower down the harness instead of on the front or back face, means that you can use both hands to complete the task at hand, without worrying that the lanyard will be in the way. 

As well as being tested to the EN 361 standard, positioning harnesses are tested to an additional standard - EN 358. In addition, they often feature 3 or 4 separate lanyard connection points, so this gives the user a little more freedom to work as well. The positioning harnesses that we offer here at Safety Harness Direct are of the highest quality and will ensure that you can work at height safely for many hours!

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suspension harness


The third type of safety harnesses you need to be aware of are suspension harnesses. These harnesses are designed to be worn by workers who are... you guessed it... suspended in the air! They provide unrivaled comfort for situations where you need to be suspended by a rope, supporting your back, hips, and legs, so you can get the job done safely and easily. Almost all suspension harnesses will enable you to work while 'sitting' in a comfortable position. It's almost as if they've got a chair built in!

We highly recommend these harnesses for anyone who will be suspended while working, because they're far more comfortable in this scenario than a positioning or fall arrest harness. You can shop our full range of suspension harnesses below. 

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So there you have it, if you've been wondering what the 3 main types of safety harnesses are - now you know! We offer a wide range of safety harnesses for you to choose from, so whether you're working at height or doing some recreational climbing, we've got you covered. 

scaffolding safety

When you're working on scaffolding there are a lot of different hazards that you need to be aware of. A fall from any height on a scaffold tower could result in serious injury, which is why it's so important that you have the right equipment, training, and precautions in place. While we can't account for every hazard that you might encounter on a scaffold tower, we can give you some valuable scaffolding safety tips that might come in handy the next time you're on site. So, whether you're someone who works on scaffolding regularly or someone who's about to work on scaffolding for the first time, we hope you'll find this useful!

1. Inspect the scaffold materials

Before you build your scaffold and get to work, it's vital that you check the materials used to build a scaffold tower. You wouldn't use a ladder or a safety harness if it was damaged, so don't use a scaffold tower if you're not 100% sure that it's safe to use. The consequences of using a damaged or faulty scaffold tower could be fatal, so inspect every pole, platform, and connection. If you find any problems with the equipment 

2. Ensure workers are well-trained

The only people who should be working on scaffolding are trained and experienced workers. It's absolutely vital that you understand the potential hazards involved when working at height because you need to be able to react quickly in challenging situations. There are so many different issues that could occur out of the blue when you're working on scaffolding, especially if you're welding or cutting building materials. Everyone who's working on the scaffolding should have a good understanding of the emergency procedures so that no one is left in a dangerous situation longer than they need to be. 

3. Be conscious of the weather

Working on scaffolding in adverse weather conditions can also make things more dangerous than usual. Windy conditions could increase the chances of materials or equipment falling from the scaffold, and could also make people feel less stable while they're working at height. Wet conditions could make scaffold boards slippery, which can lead to more slips and falls than usual. Storms can also cause unexpected hazards such as fallen power lines - so it's important that you carry out a thorough risk assessment before you climb the scaffolding to begin work.

4. Ensure the scaffold is built properly

When you're working at height on scaffolding, one of the biggest risks is that the structure you're standing on is not stable. When you're constructing a scaffold tower, it's paramount that care is taken to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Things should never be built in a hap-hazard or DIY fashion. If you suspect that a part is missing or not built correctly, rectify this before you start to work.

The ground that the scaffold tower is built on should be completely level and free of debris. You should also try and make sure that the work area is out of the way of hazards such as powerlines. There are a few guidelines you can use to guide you when you're building a scaffold tower. Take a look at them below...

  • Check that leg braces have been installed to support the base of the scaffold tower
  • Ensure that all planks and boards are completely level and secure
  • Make sure there's a suitable clearance between the work platforms and external hazards (eg. power lines)
  • Remove tools and equipment that aren't being used so that they don't fall on people below


5. Ensure you have the correct equipment and PPE

Last, but by no means least, make sure that you and everyone on site has the right equipment and PPE to be able to work safely on scaffolding. The most common types of PPE that you will need when working on scaffolding include:

  • Goggles or protective eyewear
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Ear plugs or ear defenders
  • Safety harness
  • Work restraint system
  • Fall arrest system
  • Hard hat or helmet
  • Hi-viz clothing

Wearing the correct PPE and investing in the height safety equipment we've outlined above will help make sure you can work effectively and safely while on a scaffold. You should never attempt to work on scaffolding without the correct PPE - you could find yourself in a very dangerous situation!

Here at Safety Harness Direct, we supply a wide range of height safety equipment that will enable you to work at height safely on scaffolding. If in doubt, always speak to the site manager before undertaking any work on scaffolding. 

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man wearing a safety harness over clothes

(Image from Pixabay)

If you frequently work from height, then you may be wondering what clothing you should wear with a safety harness and how to do it safely. There are many resources available online concerning how to safely wear a safety harness, but what about your clothing? Here are a few safety harness clothing tips to keep in mind when working at height...


what are the risks of working at height

When you're working at height, there are a lot of different risks that you need to consider. Working at height is precarious, and if you need to take equipment or materials up with you, then you need to work out how you can do so safely. We always recommend that you conduct a thorough risk assessment before you do any work at height. This risk assessment will allow you to identify possible dangers and put the correct safety equipment and precautions in place to minimise the risk of an accident or injury.

Common risks when working at height

Let's start by taking a look at some of the common risks you might face when you're working at height. These are things that should be considered when you're faced with working at height in any scenario, whether that's on a building site, at work, or even in your own home. 

  • Falling from height
  • Dropping tools and equipment on people below you
  • Inefficient or faulty safety equipment
  • Ledges and un-guarded openings
  • Fragile surfaces such as roofs & scaffolding
  • Inexperienced staff members
  • Poorly conducted risk assessment

How can you manage the risks of working at height?

Before working at height, it's absolutely vital that you carry out a risk assessment. The things that you check may vary depending on the type of job you need to complete, but a lot of these things are transferrable to any risk assessment that you do.

It's important that you've considered ALL possible risks (not just the obvious ones) so that you aren't caught in a potentially dangerous or life-threatening situation once work begins. Let's take a look at some of the common things that should be checked when you're conducting a risk assessment.

Weighing up your options

It's always advised that if a job can be done without working at height, then you should avoid working at height altogether. However, if a job can't be completed from the ground then you should:

  • Prevent falls by investing in the right safety equipment.
  • Minimise the distance you have to climb to eliminate as much of the risk as possible.

Checking for risks

Here are some of the risks that commonly get highlighted during a working at height risk assessment.

1. Equipment - is the equipment that's been selected for the job suitable, safe and in good working order? You should check for any signs of wear and tear and replace damaged safety equipment immediately. Never work at height with safety equipment that you're not 100% confident in!

2. Surfaces - inspect the surfaces that you'll be working and standing on. Are they fragile? Are they wobbly or unstable? If so, how can you stabilise them?

3. Falling objects - whether you're going to be working at height, or working on the ground beneath someone who's working at height, you need to know that all equipment and materials will be secured. We have a great range of tool lanyards that will come in handy.

4. Emergency procedures - should be put in place so that you know what to do in the event of an emergency. Whether there's a fire, a fall or some other kind of emergency, you don't want to be making an escape/evacuation plan while you're working at height. Make sure that everyone on site is aware of the emergency procedures whether they're working at height or not.

Things to avoid when working at height

Finally, as part of your risk assessment, make sure that everyone is well-versed in the do's and don'ts of working at height. Some of the key things you shouldn't do when working at height are:

  • Overloading equipment with too much weight
  • Overreaching on ladders/platforms/scaffolding
  • Resting ladders and other access solutions on weak or unstable surfaces
  • Using the wrong equipment for the task at hand
  • Let people who are untrained or incompetent work at height

So now you're aware of the risks of working at height, let's take a look at some of the top-of-the-range safety harnesses and equipment we can supply you so that you can work at height safely. 

safety harness kit

Safety Harness Kits

If you want to purchase a single kit with everything you need to work at height comfortably and safely, take a look at our safety harness kits. These kits contain a combination of our most comfortable, durable harnesses, safety lanyards, and accessories so that you can start working from height ASAP. 

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safety harness

Safety Harnesses

Here at Safety Harness Direct, we specialise in a wide range of safety harnesses like the one you see here. Whether you need a single-point, double-point, or full-body harness - we will be able to supply you with a harness that will support you while you're working at height. Browse our full range of safety harnesses below.

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While there are a lot of risks to consider when you're working at height, you can work safely and effectively when you have the right equipment to support you. If you have any questions, or if you'd like to speak to our team about your safety equipment needs, feel free to get in touch - sales@safety-harness.com.

what is a fall factor

Whether you're taking up climbing for the first time, or you're already a seasoned climber who's looking to learn more about fall theory, we want to walk you through:

  • What a fall factor is
  • Why it's important
  • How to calculate it

Disclaimer: Before we go any further, we'd just like to make it clear that you should always set up your climbing rig with the help of a professional/qualified climber. The examples of fall factors that we describe here are just that - examples - and should be used in a supplementary way when you're planning a climb. It is important that you've read and understood the equations outlined in this article carefully before you consider applying this theory to a real-life scenario. 


So, what is a fall factor?

A fall factor is a number between 0 and 2 that measures the severity of a fall. Fall factor calculations are based on the length of rope available to take the impact of a fall and the distance the person will fall in the event of an accident.

The smallest possible fall factor is 0, which occurs when a climber falls while attached to a rope with no slack. 

When climbing from the ground up a sheer face (for example a rock climbing wall or cliff), the maximum possible fall factor is 1. Any fall with a fall factor greater than 1 would mean that the climber hit the ground. 

In some scenarios - for example, when a climber starts on an exposed ledge and climbs upwards from there - the fall factor can be as high as 2. 


How to calculate a fall factor

To calculate a fall factor (F), you first need to know two things. The distance (D) that the climber falls before the rope catches them and the length (L) of rope available to catch them. 

fall factor equation

As the equation above demonstrates, you calculate the fall factor (F), by dividing the distance the person falls (D) by the length of rope available to catch them (L). 

When you calculate the fall factor of a climbing scenario, you can accurately determine the violence of the forces that will be applied not only to the climber but to the climbing equipment they are wearing. This can help you ascertain whether the equipment you have for a particular job is suitable or not. 


Fall factor examples

Let's have a look at some examples of different fall factors so you can see this theory in action! 


Fall factor of 0

Going back to our previous example where the smallest possible fall factor could be 0. How is this possible? Well, a fall factor of 0 occurs when a person falls while attached to a rope with no slack available.

This means the distance (D) at which the person will fall before their rope catches them is 0. In this scenario, the fall factor will always be 0, because regardless of the length of the rope, the distance they fall (0 metres) divided by the length of the rope (for example 10 metres) will equal 0. 


Fall factor of 0.5

If a person falls a distance of 4 metres while attached to an 8-metre-long rope, then the fall factor is 0.5. A fall factor of 0.5 on a dynamic climbing rope with some stretch in it, will generate much less force on the person and the equipment than the same fall on a low-stretch rope.

Falls with a fall factor of 0.5 are generally low impact, unless (of course) your rope is longer than the distance before you hit the ground. If you fall a distance of 4 metres on an 8-metre rope, but the ground was only 6 metres away at the point you fall - then you're going to have some pretty serious injuries on your hands. Always choose a climbing rope that is shorter than your distance from the ground!


Fall factor of 1

A fall factor of 1 occurs when a person climbs up the full length of rope to the anchor point and then falls. For example, a fall of 10 metres on a 10-metre-long rope. As the fall factor increases, the potential force that's exerted on the person and the climbing equipment increases too. 

The highest level of risk occurs when there is a lot of slack in the rope and the climber is approaching the anchor point. 


Fall factor of 2

The absolute maximum fall factor for a climber or rescuer is a fall factor of 2. This is when a person has climbed past the anchor point, and fallen twice the length of the rope he or she is attached to. Regardless of whether a climber climbs 2 metres on 1 metre of rope, or 20 metres on 10 metres of rope, the likelihood of an injury when a fall occurs with a fall factor of 2 is incredibly high. 


So, now you know all about fall factors, it's time to get kitted up for your next climb. Here at Safety Harness Direct, we offer a wide range of climbing equipment, including safety harnesses, anchor points, lanyards and more. 

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