Donning the Harness

Video 36 of 42
6 min 6 sec
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Once we have done our pre-use inspection on the harness, what we have to do then is we have to look at how it is actually donned, which is actually put on to an individual and actually correctly tightened up, so as it fits the person like a glove. What we are going to demonstrate here is how we do that. So first of all, what I am going to do is I am going to open the harness up and there is nothing wrong with doing it on a buddy buddy system. All I will do is I will just ask Jim to just feed his arm through the one side, feed his arm through the other side. What he can do now is he can turn back around to face me. The easiest way to start doing the harness, if I can just turn you that way, Jim, starting from the top and working our way down. So, the first part we are going to actually do up is the piece that comes across the chest.

So, it might be a different connector, or it might be where it is all joined in one, but we just need to make sure that we get it all done top to bottom. It has got to be in a nice systematic way. We will pull the waist belt around and we connect that. There is no need at all to tighten anything up as yet because that is something we will do once we have got it onto the individual. We now start with the leg straps, and the leg straps need to come through the legs. They might need to be adjusted to be able to get them to fit you. As you can see there, Jim is actually adjusting them so as he will be able to do them up where they need to be done up. That is it. So, he has done the one leg then he will come to do the second leg. Okay. Now, something interesting that has happened here. If I just turn Jim round to the one side and we look at how he has fastened the leg here, on a lot of harnesses they do have the D shape, and that D shape there is to indicate the way that it needs to be fastened. Because he has got the D shape facing downwards there, we can see that the alteration strap here is on the outside.

If we look at his opposite leg here, because he has got the D shape standing facing upwards, the alteration strap now is on the inside, which makes it a lot more difficult to be able to adjust it to get it to fit like a glove. So, we need to undo that and make sure that we have not got the twist in the strap and that, obviously, the adjusting strap is on the outside. We need to look now at how we are going to get it to fit him like a glove. So, what I need him to do with his leg straps, first and foremost, is to tighten them up to a point where he can actually put both his hands side-by-side on the top of his thighs, and just be able to slide his hands down between the straps without being able to move his hands away. To tighten them up, as you can see now, he is actually creating the loop at the top of the buckle to be able to pull the inside strap up to tighten it, and then he will pull the outside strap to get rid of the slack.

Now what I need Jim to do now is put both his hands at the front there, slide his hands into the straps and see if he can move his hands away. If he can move his hands away from his thighs, then we know it is still too loose. Both at the same time, must be done simultaneously left and right. Excellent. So now we know that that is a fairly nice fit around the leg area. What that tends to do with most harnesses is it will actually pull it into place for you. So, what we are looking at next is how everything is positioned. This here is what we actually call the sternal fall arrest which is the front one that sits on the sternum, the bone, the centre bone on the chest. Ideally, that needs to be a little bit higher up.

So, we are going to have to adjust these straps here to try and pull that up into place. Try and go at all times to keep it as even as we possibly can on both sides. If I can just get to that side, please, Jim. All we are doing is just feeding the webbing through the buckle to just take up some of the slack and just to pull it a little bit higher up, making sure, ideally, we are keeping it as even as possible. Maybe a little bit more on this side and there we have got it sitting more or less on the sternum. Okay. Now that we have got that correctly situated there, all we need is the waistband being done up to make it nice and comfortable around the waist. A little bit slack that, so obviously it is a case of adjusting it to get it nice and comfortable. 

What we can see here, we do have little plastic pieces that slide along the belt. The whole idea of that plastic bit there is to be able to bring it up to the buckle. Once I have got it to where I need it to be, it will keep the buckle done up at that point. It will not allow the slack to come into the buckle. The next thing I need to do is I need to check to see if it is fitting him on top of the shoulders correctly. How we do this is, again, it has got to be a buddy buddy system. So, with Jim standing as he is there like so, I am going to get two fingers either side on the top of the shoulders, and I am going to slide underneath the webbing on his shoulders. If my fingers are going in as they are there, that is a really good fit. If I can turn my fingers so as they are two fingers high, as a guideline, that says maximum. Any more than two fingers mean that it is too slack. The last thing that I want to check is at the back here, where the plate is, with his... Fall arrest on the back. This is known as the dorsal fall arrest. This ideally needs to sit between the two shoulder blades, because if he was wearing this and he was to take a fall, it stops the actual casualty when he has taken that fall from being bent right over. It is keeping the body as vertical as possible. And this is basically how we'd don a harness.