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Eye protection – some may feel safety glasses or goggles are a hassle to wear and not really necessary. That notion is absolutely incorrect – in fact, eye protection is extremely crucial to your overall protection in the workplace. According to OSHA, there are an estimated 1,000 eye injuries in the workplace occurring daily.

So, what causes all of these daily eye injuries? The answers are alarming.

  • Three out of every five workers’ injuries could have been prevented, as they lacked eye any type of eye protection at the time of the accident.
  • Wearing incorrect eye protection for the job being performed. These workers were most likely to be wearing eyeglasses that lacked side shields.

    Between lost production time, workers compensation, and medical expenses – there’s more than $300 million per year lost; there’s no reason for this. Regardless of the dollar amount spent to rectify an eye injury, ultimately, no amount can reflect the personal burden an eye injury can put on an injured worker.

    With over 90% of eye injuries being preventable if the proper eye protection is used, it is crucial to realize how much of an imperative component eye protection, is when it comes to personal protective equipment.

    This being said,

    it is necessary for your workers’ eyes are protected with recommended Personal Protective Equipment such as:

  • Safety glasses
  • Goggles
  • Face shields
  • Welding helmets
  • Hybrids that serve as a combination

    By wearing adequate eye protection, your chance of injury will be significantly decreased. It’s important to remember, that eye protection should be combined with other personal protective equipment so that one is completely protected – from head-to-toe.

    While there are multiple types of eye protection available, it’s key to make sure you are wearing the proper protection for the work. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends communicating to your workers the following:

  • When safety eye protection is required to wear
  • How and where is the available protective eyewear
  • How a worker is able to get a replacement of the protective eyewear if broken
  • Where eye protection is located at every station

    It’s also important to stress to workers that they must take care of their protective eyewear in order to for them to receive the upmost protection. By wearing the eyewear throughout the day, as opposed to laying them down, the chances of scratches significantly lessens. When not in use, eyewear should be stored in a glasses container. Scratched eyewear can reduce your vision and subsequently, may be a contributor to accidents.

    Ultimately, the majority of eye injuries are preventable with the use of proper protective eyewear. An injury obtained from lack of eyewear can potentially cause a lifetime of damage – make sure you and your workers make the right decision and protect your eyes!

    For information on eye protection in the workplace, subscribe to the Arbill Blog In the meantime, be sure to check out our website for more information on workplace safety guidelines, solutions and programs or contact us to learn more about Arbill.

    Topics: Arbill, eye protection, culture of safety, Reducing Workplace Injuries, eye injuries, common workplace accidents, cost of workplace injuries, cost of safety, safety products, Avoiding Workplace Accidents, cost of workplace injury
  • Safety Glasses Versus Safety Goggles

    Safety glasses do a great job providing impact protection; however, they do have a few weaknesses. Safety glasses usually have small gaps around the lenses that can make your eyes vulnerable, especially to liquids and dust. Even safety glasses with wraparound lenses cannot provide the same level of protection as a safety goggles.

    When you have to contend with splash hazards, airborne dust, and flying debris, safety goggles will prove to be a better option than safety glasses. Safety goggles provide 360-degree protection due to a tight, form-fitting facial seal; something safety glasses cannot offer.

    Examples, where safety goggles are the better option, include metal grinding, dusty conditions, chemical exposure and more. All of these situations have a higher-than-normal chance of a foreign object getting into your eyes from the side. Only goggles with a complete facial seal can protect you from these potential hazards.

    When To Wear Safety Goggles

    You should always evaluate your workplace for potential eye hazards so you can select the appropriate safety equipment. Safety goggles should be worn when the following risks are present:

  • High-velocity debris and blunt impacts
  • Splashing liquids and airborne droplets
  • Airborne dust particles
  • Caustic vapors

    Types Of Safety Goggles

    Safety goggles can provide more than enough protection from these hazards. However, you need to choose the correct type of safety goggle. Common types of goggles include:

  • Direct vent: These goggles have multiple perforations around their body to promote air flow, which reduces lens fogging. Direct vent goggles are primarily used for impact protection. Do not use this type of goggle for liquid, dust or caustic vapor protection.
  • Indirect vent: This style of goggle uses covered vents to increase air flow. Since the vents are covered, they provide better protection from liquid splash and dust. However, they shouldn’t be used around caustic vapors. Even though the covered vents help with airflow, indirect vent goggles will fog up more often. I recommend you look for models with dual-pane lenses or an anti-fog coating.
  • Non-vented: This style of goggle is completely sealed and doesn’t have any vents. They provide excellent protection from impact, splash, dust and caustic vapors. Due to the lack of vents, these goggles tend to fog up quickly; an anti-fog lens is necessary.

    Choosing the right goggle for the job ensures you’re eyes are protected.



  • Hearing Protection In The Workplace

    When does hearing loss, or hearing impairment, become the result of a work-related exposure? After all, we live in a world where loud noises are common, like from heavy city traffic, or even the music so kindly being shared through the open windows of the car stopped next to you. And there’s often that person who thinks headphones are speakers and has the music playing loud enough that it can be heard by everyone in the room. So yes, loud noise is common. And yes, loud noise can lead to hearing loss.

    There is no denying that the tools that we use in our lines of work create loud noise, too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that employees will lose their hearing. With the proper workplace hearing protection controls in place to eliminate, reduce, and protect against potentially damaging noise exposures, we reduce the chances that our employees will experience occupational hearing loss.

    Understanding Hearing Damage

    How loud does the noise need to be to damage a person’s hearing? Hearing loss can occur when exposed to 85 decibels of noise averaged over 8 hours. Let’s put this in perspective. Normal conversations typically occur at 60 decibels, well below the hearing loss threshold. Remember those headphones used as speakers? That music was probably playing at full volume, which can often register as 105 decibels. Here’s the thing, though. For every 3 decibel increase past 85 decibels, hearing loss can occur in half the amount of time. So it only takes 4 hours of exposure to 88 decibels for hearing loss to occur, and 2 hours of exposure to 91 decibels. Once noise levels exceed 100 decibels, a person can suffer hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes. The louder the noise, the faster hearing loss occurs.

    Noise Levels In The Workplace

    Where do the tools and environments where we work fit into this picture?

  • Air compressors from 3 feet away register 92 decibels, which would take less than 2 hours to cause hearing loss
  • Powered drills register 98 decibels, which would cause damage after 30 minutes
  • Typical factories often register at 100 decibels – that’s 15 minutes of exposure
  • Powered saws can reach 110 decibels from 3 feet away, which could cause permanent hearing loss in under 2 minutes
    In short, if workers are exposed to these noise levels without protection, then hearing loss is very likely. The only way to know the exact noise levels that workers are exposed to is to conduct noise monitoring using specialized equipment, though this is only required when exposures are at or above 85 decibels. Some indications that noise levels may be this high are if employees complain about the loudness of the noise, if there are signs suggesting that employees are losing their hearing, or if the noise levels make normal conversation difficult. Also consider that these conditions may not occur across the entire work site, but may be limited to a specific task or piece of machinery.

    How then, do we protect our employees and their hearing?

    The Importance Of Hearing Protection In The Workplace

    The best protection we can provide is to eliminate the hazard, by eliminating the need to work with the tools or in the environments that create these noise exposures. Realistically, though, this isn’t always possible. We can also work to reduce the noise levels that employees are exposed to. Some tools and machines are available that are designed to operate at lower decibels, therefore reducing the risk of hearing loss. We can also implement administrative controls, such as placing a cap on the number of hours that an employee can work in a high decibel environment, or limit the hours working with specific tools and equipment.

    Our final line of protection is our PPE that meets OSHA hearing protection requirements. Ear plugs and ear muffs can reduce the decibel exposures, providing protection against hearing loss. Ear plugs provide the greatest amount of protection as long as they are inserted correctly. Therefore, employees need to be trained to wear them correctly when they are used. Ear muffs can also reduce the decibel exposures, though not to the extent that ear plugs can. They are easier to wear correctly, though, which is why some workers prefer them.

    Some high decibel exposures may be unavoidable to perform the tasks necessary for our operations, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to protect employees and their hearing while at work. What they do in their free time, like attending a rock concert (which can peak at 130 decibels), becomes their choice.

  • To safeguard against injury wear the right hatRead More
    PPE is the personal protective equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks.The best practice advice for health and safety professionals and useful resources for further reading.

    Why is PPE important?

    In the hierarchy of risk control, PPE is considered to rank lowest and represent the option of last resort. It is only appropriate where the hazard in question cannot be totally removed or controlled in such a way that harm is unlikely (for example by isolating the hazard or reducing the risk at source to an acceptable level).

    There are a number of reasons for this approach:

    PPE protects only the person using it, whereas measures controlling the risk at source can protect everyone at the Theoretical maximum levels of protection are seldom achieved using PPE, and the real level of protection is difficult to assess (due to factors such as poor fit, or failure to wear it when required). Effective protection can only be achieved by equipment which is correctly fitted, maintained and properly used at all times;

    PPE may restrict the wearer by limiting mobility, visibility or by requiring additional weight to be carried.

    Use of PPE may alter employees’ perception of the hazards they are dealing with.

    In this context of a last resort control measure, PPE is critically important as it is generally only used where other measures are insufficient and as such it plays a crucial role in preventing and reducing many occupational fatalities, injuries and diseases.

    PPE in numbers

    This infographic provides some key facts and figures:

    Key changes

    All organisations involved with the production, importation, supply, distribution, marketing and sale of PPE will have the same responsibilities as the manufacturer, including getting product approval, making sure it conforms to the Regulation and keeping technical files and records. This will level the playing field between manufacturers and importers, and mean that fewer low-specification and counterfeit products will get into the EU marketplace.

  • Change of categorisation from product related to risk related;
  • Change of classification for certain product categories; Hearing Protection, now categorized as ‘harmful noise’ (risk) is moving from category II to III.
  • EC Declaration of Conformity to be provided (or with a web link) with each product.
  • 5-year validity / expiry date for new EU Certificates.
  • Increased obligations on ‘economic operators’ – being the total supply chain, including manufacturers, importers and distributors.

    PPE will not satisfy the requirement that it is ‘suitable’ unless:
  • It is appropriate for the risks and the conditions at the place of work;
  • It takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person who may wear it;
  • It is capable of fitting the wearer correctly (if necessary after adjustments within the design range);
  • So far as is reasonably practicable, it is effective to prevent or adequately control the risk, without increasing overall risk;
  • It complies with community directives applicable to the item (i.e. CE marked).

    The Regulations also require that:

  • Where more than one item of PPE is to be worn, that the items are compatible;
  • PPE is properly assessed before use to ensure it is suitable – to assess the risks which the PPE is to control, to evaluate the characteristics required of the PPE in order for it to be effective against the risks, and to check that the PPE selected has those characteristics;
  • PPE is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair (including replacement and cleaning as appropriate).
  • Appropriate accommodation is provided to store the PPE when it is not being used;
  • Employees are provided with instructions on the risks which the PPE will avoid or limit, the reason for using the PPE, how to use it safely and effectively, actions needed by the employee to keep it in good order eg cleaning, replacement, storage (such instruction must be comprehensible to the persons to whom it is provided);

    Employers take reasonable steps to ensure the PPE is used correctly by employees.

    Employees themselves also have duties to use the PPE in accordance with their training, report loss or defect and to store the PPE as instructed. The self-employed similarly have a duty to make full and proper use of PPE.

    The Regulations do not apply where there is other legislation with mandatory requirements for the provision and use of PPE in relation to specific hazards:

  • The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (as amended).
  • The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (as amended).
  • The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended)- The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (as amended).

    Types of PPE

    Various types of PPE are available for use in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance and general information about types of PPE used in industry, but it doesn’t cover specialised and less-used items.

    Detailed information should be obtained from suppliers on these more specialised items. Potential users should be involved in the selection of equipment they will be expected to wear and if possible more than one model should be made available to them.

    The different types of PPE include:

  • Head and scalp protection;
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Eye protection;
  • Hearing protection;
  • Hand and arm protection;
  • Foot and leg protection;
  • Body protection;
  • Height and access protection.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is legally defined as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects the user against one or more risks to their health or safety’.



  • Gas detection is an important part of health and safety. This article discusses the importance of gas detection in relation to identifying the nature and scale of any gas release, and how this applies to chemical incidents. It will look at the various hazards of gases such as asphyxiation, flammability and toxicity; and explain, through real life examples, why gas detection is necessary to avoid incidents or, at the very least, contain them.

    Hazardous nature of gases

    Firstly, it is important to understand which gases need to be considered during an incident and when they become dangerous – not all gases and vapours are equally hazardous. For instance, the air around us is composed of almost 80% nitrogen, which we breathe in every day, whereas we are always cautious around liquid nitrogen – so why the discrepancy between the two states? First, we should look at the chemical classification of these materials.

    The Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals provides a great level of consistency in classifying chemical hazards across the world. In the European Union, GHS has been adopted under European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the CLP Regulation). NCEC’s emergency responders would tell you that, under CLP, the nitrogen present in air is not hazardous. Liquid nitrogen, on the other hand, which is stored at -196°C, could be dangerous.

    There have been instances where the dangers of liquid nitrogen were not understood correctly, leading to people suffering serious injuries. For example, NCEC often sees cases where bar staff have been making cocktails using liquid nitrogen and suffering injuries because they are unaware of the hazards of liquid nitrogen kept at extremely low temperatures.

    There is a visible cloud when liquid nitrogen is poured out, which is actually the water vapour in the surrounding air freezing and not the nitrogen itself. Nitrogen is a clear, colourless gas and the nitrogen gas cloud could be much further away than the visible cloud produced due to the water vapour freezing. This holds true for all gases, especially those used as refrigerants or for cryogenic purposes, where there will be a visible cloud due to the temperature at which the gas is stored.

    Asphyxiant nature of gases

    An example of the hazards of asphyxiant gases is highlighted by an incident at an orchard. Apples were being stored in a nitrogen chamber with an oxygen level of less than 1%, which keeps the apples in the best possible condition. Two members of staff were asked to retrieve some of the best apples from the back of the chamber. However, the first person collapsed while inside, as did his colleague when he tried to recover him. Unfortunately, both lost their lives. The company was fined and found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. Many gas manufacturers state that atmospheres under 10% oxygen can rapidly overwhelm individuals, resulting in unconsciousness without warning.

    This highlights the importance of having gas detection equipment on hand where oxygen levels are expected or have the potential to be low, ensuring the staff understand the hazards even when no hazard labels are apparent, and have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) available.

    Flammable nature of gases

    Vapours can be more hazardous than gases especially when they arise from flammable liquids. Often, containers that hold flammable liquids continue to hold small amounts of the liquid or vapour after being emptied and should be cleaned and ventilated thoroughly before being used again. There have been several reports where people cut into steel drums that have held flammable liquids and fires erupt or, even worse, explosions occur. If there is only a small amount of liquid left in the base of a drum, why does this happen?

    All flammable liquids and gases have an explosive or flammable range – this is between the lower explosive limit (LEL) and the upper explosive limit (UEL). The minimum concentration of gas in air at which combustion could occur is the LEL. Below the LEL the mixture is too lean to burn. The maximum concentration of gas in air at which combustion could occur is the UEL. Above the UEL, the gas/air mixture is too rich to burn. The LEL and UEL of ethanol are 3.3% by volume and 19% by volume respectively, and for petrol the LEL and UEL are 1.4% by volume and 7.6% by volume respectively. The flammable range for ethanol and petrol are quite small and they require a larger ratio of air vs vapour to ignite. This is often the case with many flammable vapours, but not so much with gases. The difference between vapours and gases is that gases cannot be liquified by the application of pressure alone. Carbon monoxide (LEL 12.5% by volume and UEL 74% by volume) and acetylene (LEL 2.5% by volume and UEL 100% by volume) are both flammable and have large flammable ranges. Acetylene will ignite in almost every gas-to-air ratio, which in combination with oxygen makes it very useful in welding, but it is always sensible to understand the advice provided by the supplier to ensure safe practice can be undertaken.

    The increasing use of flammable gases including liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) means that we all need to better understand the hazards when they are being transported. Many vehicles are being converted to run on these gases and emergency services are learning to deal with these new technologies and the associated risks. For example, there have been cases where gas has filled the cabin of a vehicle due to faulty fuel tanks. The risk to the driver and passengers could be mitigated by installing a simple gas detector that would make the driver aware of the situation and enable appropriate action to be taken to deal with the gas. Unfortunately, we have recently had stark reminders of the power these flammable gases possess. For example, an LPG tanker travelling in Italy collided with a second truck that contained flammable solvents. The fire caused by the collision involving the flammable solvents started to heat the LPG tank and after around 8 minutes the LPG tank underwent a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion (BLEVE). This BLEVE resulted in a section of the elevated motorway collapsing and significant damage to surrounding buildings. Unfortunately, two people were killed in the incident and over 130 injured, including 13 police officers.

    Other incidents involving LPG have occurred around the globe and these can often be attributed to poor knowledge of the hazards and unsafe workplace procedures. Many facilities handle these flammable gases in the correct manner without incident, but accidents happen. Understanding how to manage an incident is a critical part of working with hazardous materials. When such incidents do occur, well prepared sites with the correct equipment and well-trained staff know the correct procedures to follow. In one particular incident, a trailer park had 17 of its buildings burnt down due to an explosion at a nearby propane warehouse. Most of the staff at the warehouse had gone home and only the plant manager was left conducting an inventory when the fire started. Investigations into this case are still ongoing, but this highlights the need for emergency planning as required under the UK’s Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) or good risk management strategies such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) risk assessments. Please also note that when working with hazardous materials, working alone is not recommended especially when there are over 10,000 propane cylinders on site. In the UK, a site of this scale would be classified as a COMAH site (Seveso in Europe), which would legally require the operators to implement and, critically, test their emergency response and crisis management processes and policies. Even if a chemical or manufacturing site is not classified as a COMAH site, NCEC strongly advocates robust incident management guidelines and procedures are put in place and are well tested. Those nominated to lead responses to incidents should also be properly trained.

    Thankfully, most calls to NCEC are resolved in a timely manner. Our chemical experts are regularly contacted for chemical advice to help emergency services, as well as other users of chemicals during incidents including spills, fires and exposures. However, there are instances when large-scale incidents require advice for prolonged periods. In December 2005, we supported the fire and rescue service with advice during the Buncefield fire. This incident was caused by three separate automated systems failing one after another after staff had left the facility in, what they believed to be, a safe state. Buncefield was one of the main oil depots in the United Kingdom and one of the pipelines was left filling automatically, which filled a tank (number 912) at a rate of 550 cubic metres per hour.


    By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1 BrandFocusRead More
    By James PrettyRead More
    A harness is the means by which the user is safely connected to the rest of a fall protection system when working at height or near an edge where the potential for a fall exists. These systems can be thought of as a chain, with the anchor point at one end, a number of links in between, and the harness at the other end.

    There are many different kinds of safety measures which may be in place to keep workers at height safe, and any system requiring Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will require a harness of some sort to be worn by the worker.

    The harness plays a vital role in preventing the user from hitting the ground if an accident were to occur, and it is the harness to which all other elements of the system such as lanyards and shock absorbers must be attached. Harness types All harnesses fulfil one basic requirement: to connect a user to a system, normally for either fall arrest, work positioning, restraint or rescue purposes. There are a number of different types of harness available for each of these purposes.

    At its most basic a harness will have at least one attachment point, for connection to a system, and will fit securely to the user. Harnesses can be “full-body”, with straps in the shoulder and thigh areas, and sometimes a waist belt; or they may cover only the lower half of the body (not to be used for fall arrest), consisting of a waist belt and thigh straps only. Full body harnesses are likely to be worn by construction workers or service personnel, where their work may require them to interact with and connect to a variety of safety systems, whereas lower body harnesses may be worn by arborists or recreational climbers who require greater freedom of movement when climbing.

    Attachment points for fall arrest are commonly located in the dorsal area of the harness, and the chest or sternum area.

    As well as having attachment points for fall arrest, harnesses may also have attachment points for work positioning or restraint lanyards – lanyards that limit the worker’s distance from an anchor point, or that wrap around some part of the user’s work area to keep them in place whilst they work. These points are usually located at the hips, and the back of the waist belt. Separate attachment points may also be provided to attach tools, or to “park” lanyards or other accessories when not in use, to prevent them becoming tangled with the wearer during use.

    For workers operating in confined areas, such as down manholes, or for marine applications where movement on and off vessels may be facilitated by means of overhead winches, an additional “rescue” attachment point may be provided. This usually consist of attachments on each shoulder of the harness that are connected together over the wearer’s head to the winch or rescue mechanism.

    Harnesses may be provided with a sit attachment – a connection point at the front of the waist belt that when fixed to a suitable lanyard, allows the user to lean back into a comfortable sitting position whilst working at height. All harnesses must keep a user safe, either in the event of a fall or keep them in the correct position to prevent a fall, and so the choice of harness and attachment point must be considered for each application.

    Harnesses for use in specialised environments are also produced; for example, marine or diving harnesses, as well as harnesses for firefighters and armed forces personnel. These have their own specific requirements in addition to the general safety requirements of harnesses.

    Testing harnesses

    There are a number of standards that specify the testing and performance requirements for harnesses.

    EN 361:2002 Full body harnesses

    The tests described in this standard must be carried out on each fall arrest attachment point on the harness, to ensure that each is fit for purpose and that the harness performs safely whichever point is used, dorsal, sternal or shoulder attachments.

    In addition to a design assessment, harnesses are subject to a dynamic drop test designed to simulate a worst-case fall scenario.

    The harness is fitted to a standard European fall-arrest torso dummy weighing 100kg, and connected to a suitable anchor via a 2m lanyard, made from 11mm dynamic mountaineering rope, and tied with bowline knots at either end. The dummy is then subjected to two, 4m free fall drops: once in a legs-first orientation, and once in a head-first orientation. Some adjustment of the harness between drops is allowed, but the same lanyard is used, and the second drop must be carried out within 15 minutes of the first drop.

    The harness must arrest the dummy’s fall and must maintain it in an upright position after the drop – within 50° of vertical.

    Each attachment point must also pass two static tests, where loads of 15kN and 10kN are applied in an upwards (towards the neck) and downwards (towards the floor) direction respectively. The harness must withstand these two tests for three minutes without releasing the torso dummy.

    In addition, any metallic elements of the harness must be tested for their resistance to corrosion, which is done by subjecting them to 24 hours in a salt corrosion machine in accordance with ISO 9227:2017.

    Positioning or Restraint

    This standard is used to test the waist belt attachment points which could be a separate belt or integrated into a full body harness. Similar to EN361 in its scope, this standard requires the harness to withstand a 1m dynamic drop when attached to one of the waist attachment points via a 1m lanyard.

    For the static testing, the harness is fitted to a metal cylinder, rather than the waist area of the dummy, and a static force of 15kN applied between the cylinder and the attachment point. Static loads are applied for three minutes. Metallic elements are also subjected to the same corrosion test as in EN 361:2002 but for 48 hours.

    EN 813:2008 Sit harnesses

    This standard is used to test the sit attachment point of a full body harness or the attachment of a lower body harness. One of the most important parts of the testing for this standard is an ergonomic assessment. Two wearers, meeting height and weight requirements, take it in turns to don the harness and are then suspended from the sit attachment point for just under four minutes. During this time they are asked a number of questions about their comfort, to establish that the harness is fit for purpose.

    Testing the attachment point on the front of the waist belt, the harness is then required to withstand a 2m dynamic drop test on a 1m lanyard. Although the standard 100kg torso dummy is normally used, if the manufacturer claims a maximum user weight greater than 100kg, then this larger mass should be used for the dynamic drops.

    A static test of at least 15kN (or ten times the maximum user weight) is also required, with the torso dummy anchored to the floor and the force applied upwards from the sit attachment point.

    Metallic elements are also subjected to the same corrosion test as in EN 361:2002, however the exposure time is increased to 48 hours with an hour break half way through. EN 1497:2007 Rescue harnesses This standard is used to test the rescue attachment points of a full body harness which could be specifically for rescue only or integrated into a harness for fall arrest. The testing requirements for harnesses claiming conformance to EN 1497 are very similar to those outlined in EN 361, with the addition of an ergonomic assessment, similar to that required for EN 813. Two ergonomic subjects are suspended in turn from the overhead rescue attachment points, and their opinion on the comfort of the harness is sought by means of a questionnaire.

    Dynamically, the harness is expected to withstand two 1m drops on a 2m lanyard, one after the other. As with EN 813, these tests are to be carried out on a dummy with mass equal to that of the maximum user weight.

    Afterwards a static test at 15kN, or ten times the maximum user weight is to be carried out.

    Metallic elements are also subjected to the same corrosion test as in EN 361:2002, however the exposure time is increased to 48 hours with an hour break half way through.

    EN 12277:2015 Mountaineering harnesses

    This standard is used to test harness specifically for mountaineering and consists of four types: adult full body harness (type A); child’s full body harness (type B); chest harness only (type C); lower harness (type D). If a type A harness can be split into a type C and D, then it must meet all requirements together and separately. The torso dummy on which the testing for this standard is to be carried out differs in shape and form from the torso dummy in EN 361: 2002, in that it is considerably more contoured, and has a more well-defined waist area.

    After a lengthy period of conditioning, during which the samples are dried at 50°C before being stored at 23°C and 50% rh, the harnesses are subject to a number of static tests. This standard does not incorporate any dynamic or drop tests.

    There are different requirements for each type of harness. Types A and B are tested on the torso dummy, whilst C type (waist belts) are tested on a metal cylinder. An initial static load of 800N is applied to the relevant attachment point (300N for type C), and the positions of buckles or other adjustment devices are noted before the load is increased to 15kN with the dummy in a head up orientation, and 10kN with the dummy in a head down orientation. Any damage to the harness is noted, as is any slippage of the adjustment devices.

    For all of the European standards mentioned above, a Notified Body (NB) would require a product to meet all the relevant standards before an EU type examination certificate can be issued, allowing the CE mark to be applied and sale into Europe. Fall protection is considered Category III under the European PPE Regulation 2016/425 and therefore is also subject to ongoing conformity assessment by a Notified Body.

    ANSI Z359.11-2014 Full body harnesses

    This standard incorporates testing of the majority of attachment points possible on harness into one document. All applicable clauses are required to undergo qualification (triplicate) testing before a product can be marked as compliant and verification testing at suitable intervals. Testing is carried out on an ANSI torso dummy which weighs 100kg and which is contoured with shoulders and defined bands and areas on the torso in which certain straps should sit when the harness is fitted. Instead of using a disposable rope lanyard, this standard requires a wire lanyard, terminated with swaged loop ends.

    For the dynamic testing required for this standard, rather than specifying a set freefall height for the drop, there is a force requirement. A load cell is positioned between the anchor point and the test lanyard, and this records force during the drop. The force should be 16kN. Any pass result where the force was under 16.0kN must be discounted as invalid, and failure above 17.7kN is also invalid.

    Dorsal and sternal fall arrest attachment points are to be dynamically tested in this manner.

    During the test, at least one of the fall arrest visual indicators fitted to the harness must permanently deploy, and after testing the torso dummy must remain safely suspended in the harness for five minutes. The final height of the dummy after this fiveminute suspension is also recorded, and is then subtracted from its starting position in order to establish the degree of stretch/elongation in the harness. As in EN361, the angle of the torso dummy at rest is important and must not exceed 30° from vertical.

    A static test must also be carried out on these attachment points, applying a force of 16kN for one minute. There must be no tearing of straps, and slippage through buckles must be less than 25mm.

    Lanyard parking attachment points should be so designed that if a lanyard clipped to them is caught on something, the lanyard attachment point itself should break to minimise the risk of entanglement. Correspondingly, a static test on each lanyard parking attachment point is carried out to establish its breaking strength, which must be no more than 0.5kN.

    Shoulder attachments for rescue and retrieval purposes, waist rear attachments for work restraint and hip attachments to be used as a pair for work positioning all need to be tested with a static test of 16kN for one minute, without tearing, and with a maximum slippage through adjustment buckles of 25mm.

    AS/NZS 1891.1

    This standard is the Australian/New Zealand equivalent of the European standards EN 361: 2002, EN 358: 1999 and EN 813: 2008 with a few key differences. For the fall arrest attachment points the dynamic test is carried out using the same test dummy as in EN 361 which is dropped feet first, followed by head first on the same harness. The difference is the 12mm diameter three-strand polyester hawser-laid reference lanyard.

    The dynamic testing on the waist belt attachment is also different in that the test is done using a work positioning lanyard as specified by the manufacturer, attached to both points and wrapped around the anchorage point. This way both are tested together to show compatibility in the event of a shock load.

    The other main difference in this standard is that all webbing shall be tested for UV degradation. This involves static strength testing to breaking point of new webbing and UV exposed webbing to see how the exposure has affected the overall strength. The UV samples should retain at least 70% of the breaking strength that the unexposed samples demonstrated.


    One of the best things about being involved with safety is seeing the innovation that’s happening every day. Conducting arc flash testing and incident investigations, as well as working with committees such as NFPA 70E, CSA Z462, ASTM and IEC, provides insight into changes in personal protective equipment and standards that are benefiting workers. Here are some of the newest PPE and work practice changes.

    Distance devices for testing electrical circuits

    Many companies are making and marketing devices for proximity testing and direct testing of electrical circuits to allow workers doing troubleshooting and verification tests to stand outside the arc flash boundary. This can lower the risk of an event, incident energy and the amount of PPE needed for some common tasks.

    Remote operation devices for electrical circuits

    Electrical operators frequently work with circuits that have the potential to fail. Although failures are infrequent, PPE is often needed when doing a risk assessment. Normal operation is allowed with no PPE when the equipment presents a low risk of injury, is properly maintained and installed, and shows no sign of impending failure. This is a difficult decision when the arc flash label indicates PPE is required to work with the equipment, and it’s impossible when proper maintenance is not being done – which is frequently the case.

    Arc-rated rubber insulating gloves and protector gloves

    ASTM F2675-19 was recently published, and the restriction against rating ASTM F696 protector gloves and D120 rubber insulating gloves has been removed. A proposed ASTM standard for arc-rated protector gloves using materials other than leather is working its way through committee, and these two innovations could truly change the end user experience for industrial electricians.

    Colorless arc flash faceshields

    New nanotechnology and other dyeing technologies for polycarbonates have resulted in the two largest manufacturers of arc-rated faceshields now offering colorless arc flash shields up to 100 cal/cm² in hoods and up to 20 cal/cm² in faceshields. The new colorless technologies are just as arc-protective as the old technologies, and they solve the problem of color perception when identifying wire colors through colored shields.

    Vented and lift-front arc flash faceshields

    New venting technologies (thermodynamically designed slits) and lift-front designs make using arc flash faceshields and arc flash shields more comfortable. Venting and newer antifogging technology help solve the issue of fogging – especially in cold and hot extremes, when these problems are most apparent. When workers are in hoods for extended periods, fan technology can make a huge difference in comfort, oxygen availability in the hood and fogging. These technological features make a difference in worker comfort. Some burns occur when workers remove hoods to see. Raising the visibility with better shields and extra lighting make the need to remove PPE less likely, better protecting workers.

    Lighter-weight arc flash suits

    Older arc flash suits weigh around 20 pounds, excluding the hood system. New suits can be less than 11 pounds for 100 cal/cm² systems and 5 pounds for 40 cal/cm² systems. Lighter weights and easier respiration make the worker more likely to wear the suit when needed.

    Innovative arc flash kit providers

    New kit providers are now offering high-end suits, gloves and other PPE in their kits. Lighter-weight suits, fan-cooled hoods and cooling suits are now more common. Kits are 8, 12, 20, 40 and 100 cal/cm², making it easy to outfit the infrequent user or the traveling user.

    If your PPE isn’t state of the art and needs to be used frequently, consider an upgrade to a newer system.


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