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Fall Protection – Defective Safety Harness

What happened

During equipment recovery operations on the back deck of a vessel, a technician felt something unexpected around the Dorsal ‘D’ ring on the back of his safety harness. Operations were immediately stopped. On inspection, several points of failure were identified on and around the area of the plastic back pad of the harness (see photo).

Findings/Lessons Learned

  • Before project mobilisation, the task of inspecting the harnesses was assigned to an untrained short service employee, which was contrary to company requirements;
  • There was a failure to adhere to existing internal requirements and control mechanisms associated with the periodic inspection, maintenance and record keeping associated with fall protection equipment systems;
  • There was no evidence that a pre-use inspection – as was required by the company – had been completed by the technician before putting on the harness and starting work;
  • Wear and tear of the harness and metal components indicated exposure to adverse environmental conditions, suggesting that the harness had not been stored and maintained per the original equipment manufacturer’s instructions.

Actions taken

  • Ensure thorough visual inspection of fall protection safety harnesses by an appropriately trained person. Safety harnesses found unfit for service should be quarantined or destroyed;
  • Maintain a comprehensive fall protection equipment register;
  • Always store fall protection equipment in an environment protected from the elements and in accordance with the original equipment manufacturer’s requirements.

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 12 February 2024
Download: IMCA SF 03/24

Relevant life-saving rules:
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