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Full body harness
Harnesses intended to hold the user in place and spread the load in the case of a fall arrest scenario (i.e. being brought to a stop following a period of free-fall).
Harnesses are subject to a performance test, intended to apply a shock load on the harness, exceeding that likely to be experienced in use. In addition, the test will give an indication of the behaviour of the harness when used, in particular the angle at which the user will be held in the event of a fall.
The harness is fitted to a 100kg solid torso dummy, and connected via the harness attachment to a 2 metre length of 11mm mountaineering rope (specifically chosen to generate a known force to the harness in the case of a fall). This rope is attached to a solid anchor point, and the dummy released over a distance of 4 metres. This test is carried out twice on each harness attachment, once from a head-up position, once from a head-down position (i.e. with the dummy upside down on release). In order to pass the test, the harness must hold the dummy following both drops, with the dummy held in a position not exceeding 50° from the upright position. These tests are repeated on every attachment point on a harness.
Whole products are subjected to tensile tests, based on a factor of safety on the 6kN expected in use. Harnesses are subject to a 15kN tensile force applied in the upward direction, followed by a 10kN force applied downward. Lanyards are subjected to either 22kN or 15kN applied between the attachment points, depending on the material used – an increased force as the lanyard is expected to be more exposed to ageing factors such as abrasion in use.
Tensile forces are usually applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.
Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.