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The first thing we are going to look at here is the harness. There are different types of harnesses out there for different types of jobs. Because we are looking at working at height, it could be just a basic two-point harness that we would be using, or it could be a harness like this, which is known as a rigger's harness. And the reason why it is known as a rigger's harness is because it does have on the sides here, a little bit of padding that goes around the waist, and it has what they call side working D-rings, which I will explain a bit later on.

When we come to look at a harness, we do need to do our pre-use inspections first. The most important thing to me, when I am coming to do a pre-use inspection on a harness, is to make sure that the serial number is fully legible, because if the serial number is not fully legible then it will not relate to its inspection records. If I cannot relate to the inspection records, I cannot wear that harness, so it is pointless me doing any further checks.

The first thing I am going to do is, I am going to find the label on this particular harness that gives me the relevant information. On certain manufacturers of harnesses, you will find it quite easily and it will be stitched in on part of the webbing. Sometimes you will come to certain manufacturers and what they will do is they will have it hidden underneath webbing to give it that little-added protection. On this particular one here, as we can see, it is clearly visible, and it does tell me on there, straightaway, that the serial number is fully legible. I can read the serial number without any problems whatsoever. So, I know I can relate that to its certificate of conformity and its formal inspection records.

What we also have on this particular label is the date of manufacture. Now, we have to take into account that manufacturers' recommendations state the lifespan of a harness. It does not say it must be within those years, but it is a recommendation. With this particular make of harness, I know it has a 10-year lifespan from the first day of use. It will also have its CE marking on it, which is very important, and it will also have EN numbers. On all basic harnesses, we will always have an EN number 361. If there is anything that has been added to the harness, any additions to the harness, then it will have further EN numbers. Now, because this one does have the padding on it and it has the side working D-rings, it is not only an EN 361, but it is also an EN 358.

So, you can see here where we have two separate EN numbers. And these are the things that I need to look at on that identification tag. Once I have identified that then it is time for me to have a look at the harness overall, so I need to check the webbing. I need to check to make sure there is no cuts, bursts, tears, discolouration or anything there that will make me feel that that harness potentially could fail me if I was wearing it or being suspended from a height. Once I have actually been through all the webbing and had a good look at all the webbing, the next thing I need to look at is all the metal work. The metal work is quite important as well, that obviously it is not rusted or there is any contamination on there, where it could be, where it is from sea water and it has started to have white colouring on it from the sea air and things like that.

We also need to make sure that we check all the stitching. On these particular harnesses, you will find that the stitching has all been done nicely and neatly and it is glued underneath. If I find where there is a thread, a stitching, that is actually showing, what I tend to do is give it a good tug with my finger and thumb to see if it comes undone. Because sometimes when they actually stitch the harnesses, what you will find is they have actually finished the stitching by stitching there about seven or eight, maybe nine, 10 times, and then just trimmed it off with a pair of scissors. I need to make sure it will not come undone.

Again, this particular harness, as we can see here, it does have a red tag on it, and it is on both sides at the back. These red tags are designed so is if I was to take a fall in this harness, the stitching will rip, actually showing me that the harness has been stressed. So again, if these were not in place and they were not stitched across on this particular harness, I know I could not wear it.

Take in mind, though, not all manufacturers of harnesses actually have these tags in place. Once I have had a good look at the harness from top to bottom, and when I do an inspection on a harness, I always try to start at the top and work down one side, and then back up the opposite side to make sure that I cover everything that I need to cover. Once I have done all my inspections on it, then I am ready to actually don the harness. Don the harness actually means to put the harness on.