Yes and NO is the simple note:
1 It must be check and inspected yearly by an agency plus INSPECTED DAILY FULLY BY THE PERSON WEARING IT!
2 It must not have any defects if so its is out service
Although a well cared for or seldom used safety harness can last longer than five years, it is still recommended that you remove it from service at the five year mark. Not only may your safety harness be out of warranty, but you have no way of knowing that the internal structure of your safety harness is sound — even if it’s passed regular inspection and shows no outward signs of damage. When it comes to personal fall protection, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Each harness and lanyard is accompanied by specific instructions for use, inspection, and cleaning that must be understood and followed. Industry requires all fall protection products, including harnesses and lanyards be visually inspected prior to use and regularly inspected by a Competent Person, such as defined by OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety Administration) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). When not in use, products should be stored at room temperature away from chemicals, moisture and ultra-violet light.
Following these instructions may still necessitate removing the harness or lanyard from service prior to any life expectancy guideline, due to the normal wear and tear of everyday use. Likewise, proper adherence to the inspection and maintenance criteria may extend the useful life. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the end-user to determine when a harness or lanyard is unfit for use and should be removed from service.
In Canada Full Body Harnesses CAN/CSA/Z259.10-M90 does NOT give an expiry date but STATES MUST MEET THESE STANDARDS AT ALL TIME, if not it is out of service.
- Use the right equipment for the job. Refer to the series of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standards Z259, including:
- Z259.1-05 (R2010) “Body belts and saddles for work positioning and travel restraint”,
- Z259.2.3-12 “Descent devices”,
- Z259.10-12 “Full Body Harnesses”,
- Z259.11-05 (R2010) “Energy absorbers and lanyards”,
- Z259.12-01 (R2011) “Connecting components for personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)”,
- and any other standards or legislation that may apply.
Rest assured the equipment has tremendous excess capacity, and the degradation that is common (not normal…) in a 3-5 year period does not render the device worthless on the 1st day of the 6th year. The manufacturer knows that a harness worn every day will likely not make the 5 year mark, not by a long shot. A heavy form carpenter or an iron worker can wear out a harness in less than a year. On the other hand, a harness that is properly stored and worn only for inspections and riding in boom lifts and on roofs, that is used once a week or once a month, may last a lifetime. The Competent Person is the deciding factor. Also note, lanyards have a recommended 3 year use limit.
ANSI and OSHA do not reference a maximum service life for synthetic fiber products. ANSI and OSHA standards require that the user remove the equipment from service if it has been subject to the forces of arresting a fall. ANSI A10.32-2012 does not specify a 5 year harness and lanyard service life. It states that “fall protection equipment shall be removed from service upon evidence of defects, damage or deterioration; once it has been subjected to impact loading; or upon expiration of the manufacturer’s specified service life, whichever comes first.”
ANSI and OSHA standards require that the user remove the equipment from service if it has been subject to the forces of arresting a fall. They also states that when inspection reveals defects in, damage to, or inadequate maintenance of equipment, the equipment shall be permanently removed from service or undergo adequate corrective maintenance before return to service.