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Work positioning harness labeling confuses 'site safe' inspectors

Work positioning harness labeling confuses 'site safe' inspectors

Richard Tregoweth - Thursday, November 29, 2012

As part of the certification process all 'popular brand' tree care work positioning harnesses display some form of label to clearly identify the manufacturer, ratings etc. The serial number often includes the month and year of manufacturer.

On the rating front, tree climbing harnesses sourced from Europe display EN 813 and EN 358 standards, US harnesses ANSI Z-133.1 and Australia/New Zealand ASNZ1891.1.

Admittedly some of the tree care harness labels can be difficult to find.

For example, the label on the TreeMOTION> is hidden beneath the backpad and on the Tree Austria 3.2 it is tucked away under the waist belt webbing, presumably for protection.

Any tree climber worth their salt will have located the label on their particular harness and familiarized themselves with the identification system. But… Treetools has discovered some non-tree-work 'site safety' inspectors are having difficulty interpreting and understanding the labels found on the work positioning harnesses used in tree work.

It seems the problem is exacerbated if the site safe inspector comes from a fall arrest, height safety background.

First up, these guys often do not recognize the brand or manufacturer of the tree care work positioning harness they are inspecting.

If they do manage to find the label, the harness rating is too easily mistaken as a meaningless alpha-numeric.

And the month, year of manufacture and retirement date is often not clearly displayed or is lost in the serial numbering system.

Add an optional 'top' to the tree care work positioning harness and confusion really sets in! (A fall arrest harness has a rated 'top' integral to the design of the harness - not an optional extra devoid of life support connections altogether!).

These issues usually surface when a tree care company is operating as a sub contractor for a larger 'works infrastructure' business who sometimes operate under more prescriptive (to the tree industry) height safety rules.

To avoid being challenged by the site safety manager on these projects make sure you are familiar with the labeling on your harness before turning up to complete the job.

For more information on harness labeling Petzl have an excellent PPE inspection resource worth visiting - follow this link.

Petzl Sequoia

By way of (a good) example, the label on a Petzl harness makes your life easy. The 4-page tag, permanently located in a specially designed mesh pocket on the harness, is made of a non-tear water repellant material guaranteed to last the lifetime of the harness.

The Petzl serial numbering system also demonstrates some logic.

For example Petzl serial number: 12 365 AB 1234 reads:

12 year of manufacture
365 day of manufacture in that year
AB person who inspected the harness
1234 individual serial number

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