How to Wear a Fall Protection Harness Correctly and Safely

A fall protection safety harness is a vital piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for anyone working at heights. Honeywell Miller’s H700 and H500 harnesses are great examples of safety backed by science. They are widely used in many industries, helping to prevent serious injuries or even death in the event of a fall. However, wearing a harness incorrectly can also pose risks, such as restricting your breathing, cutting off your circulation, or causing entanglement. Therefore, it’s essential to know how to don a harness properly and check it for any defects before each use. Watch our new video tutorial on How to Don a Harness.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the 5 steps of how to don a harness safely and comfortably. 

Step 1: Inspect the harness

Before putting on a harness, you should always inspect it for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for any cuts, tears, frays, burns, abrasions, or holes in the webbing, stitching, or hardware. Check that all the buckles, rings, hooks, and adjusters are in good working condition and free of rust, cracks, or deformation. If you find any defects, discard the harness immediately and get a new one. Never use a faulty harness, as it may fail when you need it the most. 

Step 2: Prepare the harness

Next, you should prepare the harness to fit your body size and shape. Most harnesses have adjustable straps for the legs, waist, chest, and shoulders. You should loosen all the straps before putting on the harness, so that you have enough room to slide into it. The straps should not be twisted, crossed, or folded. The harness should fit you comfortably and securely, without restricting your movement or breathing. 

Step 3: Put on the harness

To put on the harness, you should first identify the dorsal D-ring, located on the back of it. This is where you will attach your lanyard or lifeline. You should hold the harness by the dorsal D-ring and shake it to let the straps fall into place. Then, you should slip the harness on like a jacket, making sure that the dorsal D-ring is on the back, centered between your shoulder blades. Once it’s on, tighten the straps gradually until they are snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the straps and your body, but not more. Next, you should fasten the leg straps by passing them between your legs and connecting them to the buckles on the waist belt. Make sure the leg straps are not twisted and that they’re positioned high on your thighs, not around your knees. Finally, you should fasten the chest strap across your chest and adjust it to the height of your sternum. You should also adjust the shoulder straps to eliminate any slack or sagging in the harness. 

Step 4: Check the fit

Once you’ve put on the harness, you should check the fit again and make sure that everything is in order. You should stand up straight and, when possible, ask a co-worker or a supervisor to inspect your harness from all sides. They should check that the harness is not too loose or too tight, that the straps are properly aligned and adjusted, that the hardware is securely fastened, and that the dorsal D-ring is in the correct position. They should also tug on the harness gently to test its strength and stability. If you feel any discomfort, pain, or pressure from the harness, you should readjust it until it feels comfortable. 

Step 5: Choose the proper connecting device

The last step is to attach the proper connecting device to the dorsal D-ring of your harness. Depending on your application, you'll need to choose a lanyard, Personal Fall Limiter (PFL) or Self-Retracting Lanyard (SRL), edge (if applicable). 

Wearing a fall protection safety harness correctly can help save your life if you fall from height. Always follow these 5 steps when donning a harness. Stay safe and work smart!