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Fall Arrest Harness

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by spydee, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. spydee

    spydee Member

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    Hey,

    I was wondering what harnesses some of the more pro, touring riggers on here use? I'm contemplating purchasing a MSA gravity rigger/rescue harness - found it for $135usd online, and I've used one before.

    But, before I buy this one, I wanted to hear what some of you other guys use? I've seen the CMC protech ones online, but never in person.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. jfitzpat

    jfitzpat Member

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    For many years I used a basic rock climbing harness (ex. Black Diamond 'Alpine Bod'). For short safety's and a chest harness I used 1" webbing until sewn spectra runners became available.

    The only reason that I can think of that I would switch to a safety manufacturer instead of a climbing manufacturer would be required certifications for a particular venue. However, I've been rock climbing for decades and know the gear well.

    If a person does not have a sound understanding of climbing safety systems - for example, does not understand just how brutal a 4' - 6' fall can be on static material, the more expensive and cumbersome commercial safety arrest systems are probably a very wise investment.

    -jjf
     
  3. MHSTech

    MHSTech Active Member

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    The MSA harness should be fine. I've never used one, but if they build their rescue harnesses as tough as they build their harnesses for SCBAs, then you should be fine.
     
  4. sound_nerd

    sound_nerd Active Member

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    I've been using DBI/SALA products religiously for the last 5 years. I couldn't tell you what model harness I use, but it's an H-braced harness, one of the no-tangle models. It doesn't have all of the fancy padding, but it works very well for what I do.
    When shopping for a harness, keep lanyards in mind too. I carry a single 5' fall arrest lanyard, a twin leash 6' lanyard for grid work, and 4' rope fall prevention lanyard for genie and skyjack work.
     
  5. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    If my understanding of US OHSA requirements are correct, then climbing gear does not meet standards. It needs to be a full body harness provided as part of a whole fall arrest system, engineered properly. You would want to get professional advice, because if the fall arrest has been done properly, then you will not be able to use your harness.

    I will warn you now, do not be surprised if dvsDave decides to close this topic. Rigging is a prohibited discussion topic on these forums. This is because of the huge risks that are involved and the potential for liability. Dave has indicated that if a recognised leader in the field were to join the board, then this policy might be reconsidered.
     
  6. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    Chris is absoultely right, a climbing harness is by no means a legal nor safe substitute for a fall arrest harness. I won't get into fall arrest here again, it's been covered numerous times in the past, but I will say that a climbing harness does not meet OSHA regs, and a fall in one of those without a chest harness can snap your back. Think about the physics, I don't need to describe it. Fall pro. is not a subject to be taken lightly. There are very strict OSHA regualtions that DO apply to the entertainment industry, and only a preson well versed in the rules should be designing or applying fall arrest systems. And Chris is also right that it does need to be a FULL BODY HARNESS, furthermore, almost always requiring a dorsal (upper back) D-Ring for attachment to a lanyard. And also, you CAN NOT tie yourself to just anything! The rule is, that every single component from the anchor to the harness has to be RATED for at least 5,000 lbs, and there has to be some form of effective shock absorbtion included as well. A search of the forums should turn up quite a bit of info on fall arrest systems (unless Dave has removed or blocked them) and as a closing statement I must stress that safety isn't about compliance, it's about PEOPLE.

    [steps down]
     
  7. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Thank you for echoing my point. We cannot be too careful about safety. The last thing I want to hear is that someone from here has died because they were not using the right fall arrest equipment. Unless you people in the states face different rules do us, employers are legally obliged to provide safe workplaces and this includes fall arrest systems. In reality, if this is in a school, then either the school needs to provide fall arrest systems or people should not be in a position where they can fall more than 6 feet.

    Please, it is for your own safety. And don't expect us to ease up on safety. Ever.
     
  8. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    Yup its the same here, employer is the one required to provide not only fall protection or prevention, but proper training as well. Technically I don't belive that an individual is even allowed to use their own gear, at least under most circumstances.
     
  9. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    No, since your own gear would not be part of the engineered system and so if the employer were to allow you to use it, then the integrity of the fall arrest system has been severely compromised. The employer is required to provide the harnesses as part of the whole fall arrest system. And the other vital component of a fall arrest system is the rescue plan. You only have something like 20 min to rescue someone before then sustain serious, permanent damage, eg. brain damage.
     
  10. spydee

    spydee Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input. I'm aware of how proper systems work and what is allowed/not allowed (esp climbing gear!). I was hoping the discussion wouldnt hit that topic, as it wasnt my intention.

    Here in Canada, every company I've worked with (PRG, Christie Lites, etc) provides the system and will provide harnesses, but every rigger I know uses their own harness. There is no way to know the history of a 'rental' harness and I'm not willing to trust my life to it, nor is anyone else I know! Using a rental harness in a zoomer or skyjack is one thing, but I wouldnt be wearing a rental one if I'm climbing truss or walking steel. With my harness, I know that it hasnt taken any falls, and that my lanyards are in perfect condition. There's just no way to know with rental stock.
     
  11. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I maintain that for the fall arrest system to maintain its rating, the supplied harnesses must be used. The system was certified as meeting OHSA type requirements by the installers. It was certified as a complete system, your harness was not part of the system when it was certified, so when you use your harness, in essence, the certification is null and void. I am not sure how this applies to rented systems, but this would, in my opinion, be the case for a permanently installed system in a venue.
     
  12. spydee

    spydee Member

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    Sorry - I wasnt clear on that in my initial posts - I work on temporary fall arrest systems, not permanent.

    However - OHSA as it applies in the USA is different in Canada.
    In Canada you require full training (and a proof-of-training card) to even wear fall protection, on top of the required license for an aerial boom or skyjack work platform.
    In Canada, the provinces legislate OHSA requirements. I just had a read of the Ontario requirements.

    There is no requirement in the act that states that personal equipment cannot be used, only that the equipment used MUST comply with the established safety standards (which is CAN/CSA-Z259.10 for harnesses). Canada has different safety standards for each component of the fall-arrest system. Vertical lifelines are under one, horizontal under another, harnesses and lanyards also each under their own. Engineers are involved in vertical and horizontal systems, and certify them to be compliant to the standards which apply.

    Anyway, I didn't create this thread to discuss the legal requirements or every person on this boards interpretation of them. I am aware of the legal requirements that apply to my work conditions and I follow them. I am simply asking those who are experienced riggers what harnesses they prefer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2006
  13. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    from http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3352

    Given that this site is geared towards high school aged techs, I somewhat doubt that any of us is likely to be an experienced rigger, so unfortunately you may not get the answer that you had hoped for. I work under the regulations of Workcover NSW here in Australia, so I only have a very slight knowledge of North American regulations, but we are not willing to compromise on safety. Whilst in your case, you might not be talking about a permanent system, we don't want someone else to come along and decide that they can't afford a proper fall arrest system and so they'll implement some half cocked system based on the various suggestions. I hope that you understand that is why some of us get up onto high horses and preach the safety message, so that it is clear to someone that might read this in 12 months time that kids, don't try this at home.
     
  14. spydee

    spydee Member

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    I completely understand where you are coming from, and I am not trying to attack you whatsoever. I am just as concerned as you with regard to an inexperienced member reading some of the posts here and thinking a wrong solution is "good enough". I'm not asking you to compromise anything safety related, nor am I suggesting it.

    I hope we're on more clear ground now, I'm not here to make enemies or spread misinformation :)
     
  15. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    Whatever harness you feel most comfortable with, as long as it has the proper certs., is going to be the best. If you are looking for a better option however, DBI/Sala has good gear, and CMC I believe makes a specific riggers harness (CMC ProTech Riggers Hraness), and Petzl has the Navaho V2 Bod that has American certs. I'm not sure about how Canada's rules and regulations work though.
     
  16. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    It was not anything specifically against you and I see where you are coming from, it was simply that we needed to lay down the rules so that anyone who does read this is aware of them. Most of the comments that I have made were not specific to you, rather general comments regarding safety. Having said that, let me make this statement for the benefit of those less experienced:
    Fall Arrest Systems are there to prevent you form dying. They must be installed to very strict standards to ensure that they are able to protect your life. They need to be properly maintained and used precisely in the manner in which you are trained to use them and using the components of the installed system as appropriate. If you are unsure of this, you should engage the services of a qualified and reputable rigging company.

    That said, discuss harnesses all you want, but to anyone else who is reading this, be aware that you need to do this properly.

    I would be checking to make sure that your harness complies with the standard that you mentioned, but it would appear as though you are safety conscious and would do that anyway.

    Anyway, welcome to the site and I hope that you will find it a useful resource, and that others might be able to benefit from your expertise.
     
  17. jfitzpat

    jfitzpat Member

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    I think I better be clearer. First of all, I'm not recommending that anyone not follow all regulatory obligations. Second, I'm not making a recommendation that anyone buy anything.

    My point was that for fifteen years or so, sit harnesses were the industry norm. Over the last 8-10 years, probably with the UK (HSE) leading the way, full body harnesses combined with fall arrest systems have become the regulatory norm. I, personally, do not see this as really being much of a postiive step in safety. After all, the HSE did not argue that an inertial reel is more reliable than, two equalized 4' lengths of Spectra. And no one argues that fall factors are inherently low with current fall arrest systems. The primary argument initially used by the HSE was that workers were finding proper anchoring with a sit harness too cumbersome and, consequently, were spending too much time unprotected.

    Rather this is true or not, my feeling is that the big problem is proper training. IE, that even with the 'proper' kit too many people are getting hurt. For example, a proper full body harness should have *both* a sternal and dorsal point for fall arrest. How these are used is critically important. The reason that sport climbers can fall many times a day on a sit harness without injury is that they are typically falling 5-15' on 50' or more of dynamic climbing rope. Force at the waist tie in is virtually always below 7 kilonewtons. In drop tests with many fall arrest systems, forces at the lanyard as high as 16 kN have been measured.

    Since 12 kN is considered 'likely fatal' with the human body and since 16 kN is surprisingly close to the absolute ratings on several of the components in the systems, two things seem clear (to me at least). First, there is very little margin for error for improper use with these systems. Second, a fall arrest system is not, in of itself, a proper substitute for good, traditional work anchor practices.

    A few other items in your post seem worth noting. First, the 'break in half' or 'broken back' comment. It is important to understand that both a sit harness and a full body harness support your body in a fall in fundementally the same way. The reason that fall arrest systems are connected to the upper body is two fold. First, to accomondate the fall arrest systems themselves. If the system, be it shock absorbtion, inertial reel, or whatever, not deploy correctly the arrest becomes 'static', and quite likely fatal.

    Second, as noted, the forces in these arrested falls are potentially very high, so while some people think of the full body 'supports' the upper body in reality, it aligns the forces much more perfectly on the lower body. This is important to understand because when you look at serious accidents involving these systems the second highest problem was improper force loading on the upper body (ribs into lungs, etc.). The single highest problem was head and neck trauma associated with an unclear fall path.

    The last thing worth noting is that weight ratings should be used with the utmost care in rigging in general and with falling in particular. Since we are potentially talking about a factor 2 fall of an adult male a static rating of 5000 lbs is pretty much meaningless. The important thing is ratings involving dynamic force and even then there are many factors to consider. For example, a locking carabiner might have a load rating of 22 or 24 kN - but only when properly loaded. Side loaded the rating may drop to less than 6 kN.

    Also, it is potentially dangerous to tie in to anything without some understanding of load multiplication (or what Joe Branam, my own original mentor in rigging, called the 'angle of the dangle').

    So, please forgive the brief musings of a long timer. They were not suited for an inexperienced audiece. But DO think twice about using any fall related safety equipment without comprehensive training.

    -jjf
     
  18. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    I dont know...after using both im not fond of their harnesses at all. Their combursome and i find them to not be all that durable. The one thing that you really want to find in a harness though is something thats durrable, strong, and make sure that it is a full harness. A hip pack wont do anything for ya if you go head first. As far as static falls go, falling a few feet and not hitting anything but getting stopped dead on a static line can be worse than falling twice the distance onto a surface since your not transferring energy anywhere except your body and organs. In climbing and such (which in this would apply to this to..) i always make sure to get a full brake line (one of those lines thats only about 4-6' long, but with a big coil like thing of more webbing in the middle put together to slow you before the stop) or at the very least have a leaderline of non-static rope so you have a bit of bounce on a fall (but this is NOT RECEMENDED OR CERTIFIED BY AND REGULATIONS!!...ALWAYS GET THE BEST YOU CAN IN SAFTY GEAR!!)
     
  19. MHSTech

    MHSTech Active Member

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    I was just writing a post on the impact force of the fall, I got frustrated and closed out of it, but I think I have it figured out now. A fall from 4 ft (like 4 ft tether) would generate about 50 lbs of impact force on a 185 lb person. I couldn't find it, but maybe somebody could write something about the impact strength of bone (like the neck and spine) and what a 50 lbs impact would do to a persons body.
     
  20. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    First of all, disregard most of what you have been told already, except that nobody should ever use climbing/rapelling gear as fall protection/arrest. Secondly, call up and then visit a good local rigging company and speak with a sales rep, it's your best chance at getting a straight out regulation compliant product answer.
     

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