Safety Harness Guide

Safety Harness Guide

Posted by Howie Scarboro - CEO Fall Protection Distributors, LLC on Jun 15th 2022

You need to make sure that you keep yourself as safe as possible whenever you climb on top of a roof. That is why you need to use a safety roofing harness. A roof harness system is incredibly important, but it will only work well if you use it properly. You need to make sure you understand how your specific harness works, how to tell when it is getting worn down, and what other equipment you need to use if you want to get the most out of your harness. Take a look at some of the most important points you need to keep in mind if you want to stay safe when you use a roofing harness.

Get the Harness Ready

The first thing you need to do is to get the harness ready. You need to take a look at the harness to make sure it appears exactly as it should. Make sure it hasn't been damaged, and keep in mind that if a safety harness has been through a fall, it needs to be removed from service. You should also check the fit of the harness to make sure it supports your bodyweight adequately. Take a look at the harness and make sure it is snug around both of your legs. It should also be relatively snug around your chest. You don't want it to restrict your breathing, but you don't want to be able to fall through the harness if it gets caught on something. Remember that the right harness for you is not necessarily the same as the right harness for somebody else.

A good all around construction harness is the Malta Dynamics B2002 Warthog.  It is affordable and offers plenty of size adjustment and premium features.  

Malta Dynamics B2002 Warthog safety harness.

Check the Fall Distance

You also need to check the fall distance of the safety harness. This is the minimum vertical distance between the metal ring on the back of the harness and the lower level (or the ground). Essentially, what this means is that if you slip and fall, the harness needs to stop you from hitting the ground. If the harness has so much slack that you will hit the ground before it arrests the fall, it will not help you. For example, if you are working on the second story, you probably want the minimum fall distance to be about six feet. Anything more than this and you run the risk of hitting the ground if you slip and fall. This is a critical part of how to use a safety harness on a roof.

Install the Anchor Point

Next, you need to install the anchor point of your safety harness. Typically, the anchors are labeled with a manufacturer's recommendations. You need to take a look at the instructions and make sure you understand how to use the nail or the screw that acts as your roof anchor. You should install the anchor in the correct place, and make sure not to skip any steps. Anchors can vary significantly depending on whether you are using a nail or screw and where you are installing it on the roof. If the anchor doesn't work, the safety harness may not function properly.

There are anchors for nearly all types of roofs and situations.  Standing seam roofs require specialized anchors that won't penetrate the metal.  The Standing Seam Roof Anchor SSRA1 is the industry's lightest and most universal fit solution for proving standing seam anchorage with zero penetrations.  

Standing Seam Roof Anchor SSRA for standing seam roofs.

Connect the Safety Harness to the Anchor Point

Finally, you need to connect the safety harness to the anchor point. The exact method of how you will do this depends on the type of system you're using, but typically, you will attach the lifeline to the anchor. Always take a look at the harness and make sure it will attach securely to the anchor point. Once the safety harness is installed, make sure you grab onto the harness quickly to ensure the anchor point does not come loose from the roof. As you go throughout your project, make sure you stay relatively close to the anchor point. Even though it should support you, you do not want to test the anchor point more than necessary. Keep the system taut to avoid any pendulum effect if you slip and fall.

Count on Fall Protection Distributors for All of Your Safety Harness Needs

You need to make sure that you protect yourself during all of your roofing projects, and that is why you need to have a reliable safety harness as well. You should make sure that you familiarize yourself with your safety harness and your anchor point before you get started. If you have questions about how to use your safety harness, you may want to reach out to a professional who can assist you.

If you are looking for the right safety harness, you need to count on the team from Fall Protection Distributors. We are proud to be one of the leaders and roofing safety, and it would be our pleasure to help you find the right safety harness to meet your needs as well. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team!

Howie Scarboro, C.E.O. and co-founder of Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C., recognized the need for continued improvements in roofing safety during the 2010 MetalCon show in Las Vegas. He joined forces with SnoBlox-Snojax, a leader in snow retention and seam clamping technology for metal roofs, to create the SSRA1 prototype. Tested by Gravitec for OSHA/ANSI certifications, the SSRA1 proved to be the industry's lightest, most robust, and most universal-fit anchor point for standing seam roofs. Fall Protection Distributors, L.L.C. was born in 2015, shaping the future of fall protection and instilling confidence in the industry.