Are you cleaning your height safety gear properly?
In order to increase the life and compliance of height safety PPE, the equipment should be regularly cleaned.
Regular cleaning will also minimise odour build-up, as well as removing any potentially degrading materials, and can improve user compliance.
However, it is not appropriate to soak a harness or use any strong chemicals such as bleach during cleaning, according to LINQ Height Safety Gear National Category Manager Paul Bozkurt.
“Gentle dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent mixed with warm water is best. Wipe it down with a sponge, dry it off and hang it up to dry,” he said.
The most noticeable benefit to users is a cleaner, odour-free harness that will be serviceable longer. If harnesses are exposed to grease, oil and dirt then they are often decommissioned during inspections as they are seen as too dirty.
The same applies to harnesses that get wet — either from rain, sweat or other moisture exposure.
“The main issue with a harness that is kept wet is the resulting smell. When harnesses start to smell they are generally discarded. This is the same for harnesses that absorb sweat in hot and humid environments,” Bozkurt said.
“Where a single harness is being used by multiple workers, this can also pose a hygiene problem with cross-contamination.”
Moisture-resistant technology called Liqui-Pel is applied to LINQ harnesses during manufacturing to provide increased protection against sweat, moisture and associated odours as well as oil, grease and dirt.
“Moisture is not absorbed by harnesses treated with Liqui-Pel. It will simply bead off,” Bozkurt said.
The coating will also make cleaning harnesses easier and, importantly, a clean and odour-free harness will increase the likelihood of workers wearing it.
Inspection and storage
Harnesses should always be inspected before use and must be inspected by a height safety equipment inspector every six months or as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Harnesses and other height safety gear are often incorrectly stored, which can reduce their serviceability and potentially their ability to save your life in the event of a fall.
When not in use, height safety gear must be hung in a clean, dry, well-ventilated area free from chemicals, high temperatures, sunlight and other forms of UV. It should also be kept in a location where others will not use it and it will not be crushed or damaged by sharp objects.
Some harnesses and other webbing products should be dry before they are stored.
“Because harnesses are often stored undercover and out of the sun, this can hinder them from drying out completely,” Bozkurt said.
“With the Liqui-Pel coating, harnesses do not absorb moisture so they can be stored immediately.”
When in transit between jobs, it is recommended to store harnesses and other height safety gear in a quality storage bag.
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