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When Should You Be Using A Full Body Harness?

November 1, 2022

The HSE has revealed the number of cause of workplace fatalities for the years 2020/2021, and sadly as in previous years, the main reason why people lose their life at work is due to a fall. Specifically, out of the 142 fatalities that occurred in UK workplaces during this period, 35 deaths were due to falls.

Risks to employee safety and the general public are why every workplace must strive to ensure the proper safety protocols are always followed, and reducing the risk of falls is no exception. 

While every workplace should undertake independent health and safety reviews and guidance in relation to the risk of falls, here is a guide to when full body harnesses should be used to help keep your employees safe at work. 

Metreel Fall Protection & Work Access Products

When Is A Full Body Harness Needed?

safety harness 1500x1000 1 from Metreel

Full body harnesses are designed to keep the wearer either fixed in position, or limit their movement distance or direction to prevent falls or accidents. Therefore, a full body harness is required when undertaking any activity where there is a risk the individual could fall from a height.

As well as falls being the leading cause of workplace fatalities here in the UK, the World Health Organization states that falls are also the second leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths in the world after road traffic accidents, accounting for approximately 684,000 deaths per year.

While no height is deemed ‘safe’ to fall from, research has shown that the risk of fatality significantly increases past the 10ft threshold, according to the The Center for Construction Research.

How a full body harness keeps wearers safe is down to the design of the harness, as well as the application to which the harness is attached. Harnesses are made up of several straps which secure the user at the shoulders, chest and legs. Each of the straps should be fully adjustable to provide both maximum comfort and safety when worn. 

Examples Of Where Full Body Harnesses May Be Required For Fall Protection

  • Building maintenance
  • Confined space entry and retrieval 
  • Construction sites
  • Descent control
  • Ladder use
  • Recreational or occupational climbing activities
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Scaffolding
  • Tree surgery
  • Window cleaning
  • Work positioning

What To Consider When Purchasing A Safety Harness

06 FallArrest V3 1 from Metreel

For anyone in need of a safety harness for their occupation or workforce, we would always encourage you to contact us directly, so that we can correctly assess your needs to be able to give tailored product information and recommendations. 

That said, here are some of the factors that will mean one type of harness may be more suited to your needs than another:

Type of harness – Full body harnesses are available in a range of different configurations including multi-purpose harnesses, work positioning harnesses, ladder climbing harnesses, descent control harnesses, confined space/retrieval harnesses, suspension/rigging harnesses and speciality material harnesses. 

Usage suitability – The reasons why a fall may be possible will vary from trade to trade, environment to environment. Some harnesses may hinder the work due to be undertaken, and others will make the work easier to complete, which it’s why it’s essential to factor in whether the harness is suitable for that particular usage type or not. 

Adjustability  – Harnesses should be fully adjustable to allow for maximum comfort and safety.

Number of attachment points – Full body harnesses can have anywhere from 1 to 5 points on average. So, it’s essential that the harness has the correct number of points in line with health and safety compliance for the activity due to be undertaken. 

Height limitations – If purchasing the full harness and lanyard kit, then you’ll need to ascertain the height or distance limitations of the kit.

Trade reputation – Harnesses should have an excellent trade reputation, and carry all the relevant safety certifications. If an accident were to occur, the quality and suitability of the harness would be one of the first aspects called into question, so this element definitely cannot be ignored.

Fall Protection Equipment UK – Metreel Personal Safety Innovations

Do you require fall protection equipment for your trade or workforce? Metreel is a leading supplier of personal safety equipment in the UK.

If you would like to find out more about our safety harnesses, or if you’re interested in any other of the services we provide, please give us a call on 0115 932 7010, or drop us an email

Alternatively, check out the Metreel Brochure to discover our full range of products and services.