The Best Safety Harnesses (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Stay secure while you work and play with these top-rated safety harnesses
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON December 3, 2020
Proper workplace safety involves having the right equipment and using it responsibly. Whether you work in construction, in search and rescue, or spend your recreational hours at high heights, a safety harness is essential. Though there are a lot of options when it comes to this type of safety gear, the most important thing is to find one that fits and is designed for the purpose at hand. Each safety harness will have different weight thresholds, attachment points, and ways of dispersing force across the person. It is about more than keeping you from falling, it is ensuring that should you slip, the force is spread evenly across your person. The harness will absorb the impact; and, based on how it’s designed, will buffer that energy differently. To help you pick out the best safety harnesses for your needs, we’ve listed the top selections, along with some tips on making the right pick.
Weighing only two-and-a-half pounds, this comfortable harness comes in multiple sizes. It is designed for hunting and camping purposes.
- Tough enough to use year-round
- Includes tree strap and suspension release components
- Lightweight and easy to wear
- Can be tricky for beginners
- Requires time investment in learning the instructions
- Not suited to workplace use
This affordable safety harness is designed for use on construction sites and scaffolding. Using the classic harness design, it’s compatible with supplemental safety gear.
- Harness comes at an affordable price
- Designed to resist damage from abrasion
- High-quality stitching across the whole harness
- Lacks padding on the interior of the harness
- Can scratch or chafe those with more sensitive skin
Featuring a sturdy design and easy-wear structure, this safety harness meets all relevant OSHA safety standards. It is padded for extra comfort and provides durable security in the workplace.
- Padded to optimize comfort during wear
- Slip-resistant adjustment parts
- Easy to put on and to take off
- Comes at a relatively high price point
- Designed for use by only one person due to its memory fit features
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Benefits of Safety Harness
- Keeps you safe in case of a fall. A safety harness lets you attach yourself to a stable place so, if you take a tumble, you won’t get hurt when hitting the ground. Anytime you are working at a height over 6 feet, it’s important to have a reliable harness on your person.
- Standardized and approved. Since harnesses are a piece of safety gear, they are regulated by governing bodies that deal with health and safety. This means that there are standards that must be met in terms of performance and construction. It allows you to put trust in the harness since you know it must meet certain parameters.
- Meets workplace requirements. While not all workplaces demand safety harnesses, many in the industrial and commercial sectors mandate their use in the workplace. Both a matter of insurance and employee safety, it is much like steel-toed boots where having them in use is necessary for employment with the company.
- Comfort during work. While wearing safety gear might not sound like a comfortable thing, many incorporate padding throughout the harness. You can get harnesses made out of a range of fabrics and designed to limit stress on your system. The comfortable accommodations are particularly important for those using the harness all day long.
- Protection for joints. The idea behind a harness’ design is to do more than stop you from hitting the ground. With straps around your legs and shoulders, it takes the force exerted by your weight and the velocity of the fall and spreads it across your body. This prevents your hips and shoulders from burying the brunt of the impact.
- Doesn’t have an expiration date. Unlike some safety gear that expires after a certain amount of time, you can keep using a harness until it is no longer functional. So long as there isn’t wear and tear, you can keep using the harness as long as it fits and you need it.
Types of Safety Harness
A popular type of harness, these are appreciated for their ease of use and quick adjustments. These go over the shoulders and have protection for both your waist and your legs. The design is meant to spread the pressure of a fall across your whole body. These stand out in terms of simplicity since there are usually very few buckles and attachment points. So long as the harness is properly sized and adjusted, it can drastically reduce the chance of injury in the event of a fall.
Another really common kind of harness is the full-body type. Also referred to as a parachute harness, these models are very safe and can be used in the workplace. Often, the full-body harness will incorporate more adjustment points than a vest type model. This enables it to be used with all types of lanyards and suspension relief mechanisms. When used responsibly (meaning it has the right size and is adjusted correctly) it can prevent injury should a fall occur.
Opening its doors in 1902 in the United States, 3M began as a mining and manufacturing business. What started as a humble operation whose first product was sandpaper grew into one of the international leaders in the industrial safety business. One of its top selections is the 3M ExoFit Full Body Harness.
After commencing operations in 1984 in the USA, Malta grew into an industry leader in the fall protection niche. By focusing on supplying reliable, high-quality equipment, it became a well-known name in businesses across America. Among its leading offerings is the Malta Dynamics Warthog Full-Body Universal Harness.
Safety Harness Pricing
- Under $50: In this range, you are more likely to find simpler models like the vest harness. Few options include padding.
- Between $50 and $200: Harnesses in this range include both full-body and vest-type models, though tend to have more basic designs.
- $200 and up: Options in this price range are more likely to be full-body models with multiple attachment points. Most are comfortable and feature padding.
To be viable for the workplace, you should opt for a harness that has five points of security. This means that you will need it to go over both legs, cross behind the shoulders, and connect across your chest. The presence of these safety components is necessary to spread the force throughout your whole body. While the thickness of the harness straps may vary, the presence of the five points is essential.
The buckle needs to be hardy enough to withstand the force of a fall. Some harnesses only have a single buckle, located at the front of the harness (at the center of the chest). Another important part of this feature is being able to control the buckles easily. Most prefer quick-connect technology like those used in car seats. It lets you get into the gear more quickly.
Finally, you want the harness to be reasonably maneuverable. The structure should fit your size and weight, though allow you to get a precise fit for your form. Usually, this is in the form of sliding adjustment parts. While some prefer the ease of a pre-set design, if you are going to be using the harness for a long period, it’s important to find something that fits you specifically.
- Comfort: Everything from the design to the material to the padding impact the comfort level of the harness. If you have sensitive skin that’s easily irritated by different fabrics, opt for something that uses other materials. Additionally, if comfort is a concern, spring for a model that includes padding. Like assessing car seats for long drives, if you need to use it for a longer period, you want something with comfortable padding.
- Durability: Consider how long you are going to need the harness. If it’s a workplace tool, then it is going to encounter some wear and tear. Opt for something with quality stitching and high-grade material. Pick a harness with attachments that won’t wear down with continual use. Though eventually, it will wear out, higher-end models are more durable.
- Weight Threshold: A critical consideration is how much weight the harness can support. This is more than an estimate, it is a precise figure that is used when professionals test the harness. For the harness to provide the necessary level of protection, it needs to be able to withstand your weight. Most are functional up to 300 pounds.
- Maintenance: Think about how easy it is going to be to keep your harness in good condition. Are there parts that are vulnerable to rust and corrosion? Is it properly stitched and reasonably easy to clean? Especially if you plan to use your harness in the great outdoors, it is likely to get dirty. It will be easier to upkeep a harness that is made of water-resistant material.
- Ease-of-Use: Much like a car seat, the convenience of the safety gear is a huge factor in determining its merit. While some standards should be met (easy to put on and take off, quick-release buckles, etc.), the ease of use will be determined primarily by your standards. Consider how quickly you’ll need to put on the gear and use this as a starting point.
Best Safety Harness Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- To get the most safety benefit out of your harness, ensure that you wear it any time you are working at a height above six feet.
- Always check the weight threshold of the harness to make sure that it fits your needs.
- Store your safety harness indoors to prevent wear on the fabric due to ultraviolet rays.
- Keep the attachment points and d-rings clean and dry to limit the risk of rust and corrosion.
- Check for wear and tear on the safety harness material and attachment points before you wear it, much like you would check a seatbelt.
- Take your time when putting the harness on to ensure that you get the most support you can.
Q. Can a safety harness expire?
While all safety harnesses will eventually wear down, there is no official expiration date. OSHA neither dates nor color-codes the expiration point of the harness. To ensure safety, check that all parts, including attachment points and stitching, are completely intact before you wear it.
Q. When should I wear a safety harness?
You should wear your safety harness whenever you are at risk of falling. Many use a six-foot standard, though to err on the safe side, four feet is a good threshold. Regardless of how short the task is, it is important to use the harness every time.
Q. What safety harness accessories do I need?
The most important thing to have is a lanyard and spare D-rings. There are different ways to attach the harness to the support system. Opt for something that is the easiest for you to use. Additionally, for safety’s sake, you’ll want a hard hat and steel-toed boots.
Now that you’re familiar with the world of safety harnesses, you can make your pick. It could be the Hunter Safety System Hunting Harness or the excellent value of the KwikSafety Thunder 3D Harness. There’s a harness for every situation.
Do you have a story about fall protection? Let us know in the comments below so we can promote workplace safety together.