OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 9 Fall Protection

Section 142 Full body harness

Full body harnesses are the only type of harness allowed in personal fall arrest systems. Full body harnesses have four main functions:

(1) to securely hold the worker’s body during free fall, deceleration and final arrest;

(2) to distribute arrest forces to those parts of the body able to absorb the forces without significant injury. Full body harnesses with straps that pass across the buttocks are particularly good at doing this;

(3) to keep the body in an upright or near upright position after the fall and until the worker is rescued; and

(4) to allow workers to do their work without restricting their movement.

Chest harnesses without leg straps, and sit harnesses having only leg and waist straps (no shoulder straps) are not permitted for fall arrest. Sit harnesses commonly used in mountaineering are unacceptable. Only full body harnesses approved to one of the listed standards are acceptable.

For compliance purposes, the full body harness must bear the mark or label of a nationally accredited testing organization such as CSA, UL, SEI, etc. as evidence that the harness has been approved to the requirements of the Standard. Products bearing a CE mark also comply with this section. The CE mark – Conformité Européenne – indicates that the company manufacturing the product has met the requirements of one or more European directives. The product also complies with the listed CEN European standard.

The 2009 edition of the OHS Code marks the first time that Part 9 accepts fall protection equipment approved to standards from the U.S. and Europe. Fall protection equipment approved to any one of these standards is considered to offer an equivalent level of worker protection. Employers and workers in Alberta now have access to a broader range of equipment to safely meet their fall protection needs. Readers are referred to section 3.1 for information about previous editions of the standards.