How Long Is A Safety Harness Good For: A Complete Guide

Are you wondering how long your safety harness will last? It’s a commonly asked question, and one that deserves a straightforward answer. The truth is, safety harnesses are designed to last for a specific period, after which they need to be replaced. This article will delve into the timeframe you can expect from your safety harness, and why replacing it regularly is vital.

Firstly, it’s important to note that safety harnesses have a finite lifespan due to the wear and tear that occurs during use. While the length of time a harness lasts varies depending on a range of factors, including the brand, quality, and frequency of use, most manufacturers recommend replacing safety harnesses every five years. However, if you spot signs of damage or wear and tear before the five-year mark, it’s essential to replace your harness immediately. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to safety equipment that protects you from falls and injury.

In this article, we’ll go beyond the basic answer of ‘five years’ and explore the different factors that determine how long your safety harness will last. We’ll discuss the types of damage to look out for, including fraying, cuts, and broken parts, which indicate that your harness has exceeded its lifespan. We’ll also touch on how often you should have your harness inspected and review the other safety equipment that should be cleaned out or replaced regularly. So keep reading to learn everything you need to know about ensuring your personal safety while working at heights.

What is a safety harness?

A safety harness is an equipment designed to protect a worker from falling when working at heights. It is commonly used in various industries such as construction, manufacturing, and maintenance, among others. Safety harnesses work together with other fall protection equipment such as lanyards and anchor points to create a complete fall arrest system.

The harness consists of a full-body harness with straps that go over the shoulders, around the waist, and around the legs to secure the worker to the harness. It also has a dorsal D-ring at the center of the worker’s back where lanyards can be attached. The lanyard is then connected to an anchor point, which is typically a strong and secure structure capable of withstanding the force of a fall.

The harness ensures that the worker remains upright in case of a fall, reducing the risk of injuries or death. It is important to note, however, that using a safety harness does not eliminate the risk of falling altogether. Therefore, it is essential to properly inspect, maintain, and replace the harness regularly to ensure its safety and effectiveness.

Types of Safety Harnesses

A safety harness is a crucial piece of personal protective equipment to ensure safety while working at heights or in hazardous conditions. There are various types of safety harnesses available, designed to meet the specific needs of different industries and applications. Here are some of the most commonly used safety harnesses:

Full-Body Safety Harnesses

  • A full-body safety harness is designed to distribute the impact of a fall across the entire body. It consists of a webbing or mesh vest with a waist belt and leg loops, connected to an anchor point by a lanyard or lifeline.
  • Full-body harnesses provide the most complete protection against falls and are ideal for work at heights or in construction and industrial settings.
  • Most full-body harnesses have a lifespan of five to ten years, depending on the frequency of use and the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Positioning Safety Harnesses

Positioning harnesses are used in work settings where workers need to be suspended in a specific position to perform a task, such as window cleaning or tree trimming. These harnesses are designed to provide support and stability while allowing for a full range of movement.

Positioning harnesses usually have a shorter lifespan than full-body harnesses, as they are subject to more wear and tear due to the nature of the work they are used for.

Rescue Safety Harnesses

Rescue harnesses are designed to allow for quick and safe retrieval of a worker in an emergency situation, such as a fall or a medical emergency. These harnesses have integrated suspension trauma straps to relieve pressure on the legs and prevent blood pooling.

Rescue harnesses may have a shorter lifespan than full-body harnesses due to the added strain of emergency use.

Suspension Trauma Safety Harnesses

Suspension trauma harnesses are designed to prevent suspension trauma, a potentially fatal condition that can occur when a worker is suspended in a harness for an extended period. These harnesses have built-in leg straps that can be tightened to maintain circulation in the legs.

Harness Type Lifespan
Full-Body 5-10 Years
Positioning 2-5 Years
Rescue 3-7 Years
Suspension Trauma 2 Years

It is important to note that the lifespan of a safety harness depends on a variety of factors, such as the manufacturer’s guidelines, frequency of use, and exposure to environmental factors such as heat and sunlight. Regular inspection and maintenance are also crucial in ensuring the safety and longevity of a safety harness.

Choosing the right type of safety harness for your specific needs and industry is essential in providing adequate protection against falls and other hazards in the workplace.

Importance of Safety Harnesses

Safety harnesses are a crucial piece of equipment in various high-risk industries such as construction, roofing, window washing, and more. They are specially designed to protect workers from falls and reduce the risk of serious or even fatal injuries. Harnesses are used in combination with other safety equipment such as lanyards, lifelines, and anchor points to create a comprehensive fall protection system.

  • Preventing Falls: The main purpose of a safety harness is to prevent falls. When properly used, a harness can help you to avoid serious injuries or even death by keeping you safely secured while working at heights.
  • Regulations and Standards: Safety harnesses are also important in meeting safety regulations and standards set by local and federal authorities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, requires employers to provide fall protection systems for workers who are working at heights of six feet or higher. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to costly fines and citations.
  • Boosting Confidence: Wearing a safety harness can also boost your confidence and productivity when working at heights. Knowing that you have a reliable fall protection system in place can help you to focus on your work without worrying about your safety.

How Long is a Safety Harness Good For?

The lifespan of a safety harness depends on various factors such as the frequency of use, the type of work environment, and the manufacturer’s recommendations. Generally, most safety harnesses have a maximum lifespan of five years from the date of manufacture. After this period, the harness should be replaced even if it appears to be in good condition.

However, if the harness shows any signs of wear and tear such as fraying, fading, or damage to the buckle, it should be replaced immediately regardless of its age. Wearing a worn or damaged safety harness can compromise your safety and increase your risk of injury or death in the event of a fall.

It’s important to inspect your harness regularly and replace it when necessary to ensure that it’s providing adequate protection. You should also make sure to store it properly when not in use and avoid exposing it to harsh weather conditions, sunlight, chemicals, and other factors that can degrade its condition over time.


In conclusion, safety harnesses are a crucial piece of equipment for anyone working at heights, regardless of the industry. They provide an essential layer of protection against falls and can help to prevent serious injuries or even death. It’s important to use them in combination with other fall protection systems, follow safety regulations and standards, and replace them when necessary to ensure that they are providing adequate protection.

Pros Cons
Prevents falls and injuries Can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods
Boosts confidence and productivity Must be properly inspected and maintained
Meets safety regulations and standards Can be costly to replace regularly

Overall, the benefits of using a safety harness far outweigh the drawbacks, making it a necessary investment in any high-risk work environment.

When should safety harnesses be replaced?

Regular inspection and replacement of safety harnesses are essential to ensure the safety of workers at height. Even the best quality safety harnesses have a limited lifespan as they are subject to wear and tear, exposure to the elements, and other factors that can affect their performance. As a general rule, safety harnesses should be replaced every five years, even if they appear to be in good condition.

  • When exposed to harsh environments: Safety harnesses are subjected to extreme weather conditions, corrosive substances, and extreme heat or cold that can affect their function. If the harnesses are exposed to harsh environments, they may need to be replaced more frequently than every five years. It is wise to consult with the manufacturer or a safety expert to determine the appropriate replacement schedule.
  • After a fall: If the safety harness has been subjected to the forces of a fall, it may need to be replaced immediately, regardless of its age. Even a single fall can cause damage to the harness that may not be easily visible to the naked eye.
  • When the harness shows visible signs of wear and tear: Over time, safety harnesses can develop visible signs of wear and tear, such as frayed straps or broken buckles. Any visible damage to the harness should be taken as a sign that it needs to be replaced immediately. Even minor damage can compromise the effectiveness of the harness in a fall situation.

Proper maintenance and inspection can help ensure that safety harnesses continue to function optimally throughout their lifespan. However, it is important to remember that regular replacement is an integral part of any safety program that includes working at height.

Signs that a safety harness may need replacement Action required
Visible signs of wear and tear, such as frayed webbing, cuts, or deformation Replace the harness immediately
Broken or corroded hardware such as buckles and D-rings Replace the harness immediately
When exposed to extreme heat, cold, or corrosive substances that may affect the integrity of the material Consult with the manufacturer or a safety expert to determine if replacement is necessary
After a fall or when subjected to an impact that may have weakened the harness Replace the harness immediately

By following the appropriate replacement schedule and staying alert for signs of wear and tear, safety harnesses can continue to play a critical role in keeping workers safe at height.

Factors that affect the lifespan of a safety harness

A safety harness is an essential tool for those who work at height or in high-risk environments. It serves as the first line of defense against falls and injuries, but its effectiveness can be reduced if not properly cared for. One important consideration for safety harnesses is their lifespan. Over time, a safety harness can begin to wear down, making it less reliable and putting the wearer at greater risk. Here are some of the key factors that affect the lifespan of a safety harness:

  • Frequency of use: The more a safety harness is used, the more quickly it will wear down. A harness that is used every day will typically have a shorter lifespan than one that is used only occasionally.
  • Work environment: The environment in which a safety harness is used can also have a significant impact on its lifespan. Harnesses used in harsh or extreme conditions, such as in the presence of chemicals or extreme temperatures, will typically wear out faster than those used in more moderate environments.
  • Proper storage and maintenance: Proper storage and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of a safety harness. A harness that is stored properly and regularly inspected and maintained will last longer than one that is neglected.

Another important consideration for the lifespan of a safety harness is its maximum lifespan, which is typically determined by its manufacturer. Most safety harnesses are designed to last for a certain amount of time, after which they should be replaced, regardless of whether or not they appear to be in good condition. This maximum lifespan can vary depending on a number of factors, including the materials used in the harness and its intended use.

It’s important to note that even if a safety harness appears to be in good condition, it may still need to be replaced if it has been involved in a fall or any other incident that could have compromised its integrity. This is why it’s important to inspect safety harnesses regularly and replace them when necessary, rather than relying solely on their appearance or expected lifespan.

Factor Impact on Lifespan
Frequency of use Shortens lifespan
Work environment Shortens lifespan
Proper storage and maintenance Lengthens lifespan

In summary, the lifespan of a safety harness is affected by a number of factors, including frequency of use, work environment, and proper storage and maintenance. It’s important to regularly inspect safety harnesses and replace them when necessary to ensure the safety of those who rely on them.

Inspection and Maintenance of Safety Harnesses

Safety harnesses are an essential tool for workers who work at height. They serve as a life-saving device, and it is essential to keep them in good condition to ensure they provide optimal protection. Proper inspection and maintenance of safety harnesses are necessary to ensure that they are functioning correctly and that they’ll continue to do so in the future.


  • Before you use a safety harness, inspect it carefully for any signs of wear or damage. This may include frayed or torn straps, damaged buckles or D-rings, or holes.
  • If you find any signs of wear or damage during inspections, do not use the harness, and replace it immediately.
  • Even if you do not find any visible signs of wear or damage, it is still recommended that you inspect the harness at regular intervals.
  • It is best to follow the manufacturer’s inspection guidelines for your specific harness.


Maintaining a safety harness is essential to keep it functioning correctly. Improper maintenance can result in a harness failing to perform as intended, leading to serious injuries or even death. Here are some tips on maintaining your safety harness:

  • Store the harness in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing it near chemicals or other toxic materials.
  • Do not alter the harness in any way. The manufacturer has designed it to work in specific ways, and altering it can compromise its effectiveness.
  • Keep the harness clean. Dirt, debris, or other contaminants can compromise the integrity of the harness. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines and wash the harness as needed, typically after any use in dirty or dusty conditions.
  • Treat the harness gently. Excessive stress, tugging, or pulling can damage the harness and reduce its effectiveness.

Table of Inspection Frequencies

The specific inspection frequency for your harness may vary based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Here is a general guideline for inspection frequencies for various types of harnesses:

Type of Harness Inspection Frequency
General Use Harness At least every six months
Special Use Harness (e.g., oil rig, welding) Before each use
Fall Arrest Harness Before each use and every six months
Rescue Harness Before each use and at least every six months

Remember, the specific inspection frequency and guidelines for your safety harness may vary. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations to ensure that you are inspecting and maintaining your harness correctly.

Regulations on the use of safety harnesses

When it comes to using safety harnesses, it’s not just about how long they last, but also about following regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety of workers. Here are some of the key regulations to keep in mind:

  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that workers who are exposed to falls of 6 feet or more wear a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) that includes a harness, lanyard, and anchor point.
  • Employers must ensure that harnesses and other fall protection equipment meet OSHA standards and are in good condition before each use.
  • Workers must be trained on proper harness use and inspection, as well as the hazards associated with working at heights.

Beyond these regulations, there are also guidelines from organizations like ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) that provide recommendations for the design and testing of safety harnesses.

When it comes to determining how long a safety harness is good for, it’s important to not only consider the manufacturer’s recommended lifespan, but also to inspect and test it regularly. This can be done visually by looking for signs of wear or damage, as well as through more thorough inspections and testing by a competent person.

Manufacturer’s recommended lifespan

Manufacturer’s recommended lifespan for safety harnesses generally ranges from 3 to 5 years from the date of first use, but can vary depending on factors like the environment they’re used in and how often they’re used.

Safety harness inspection checklist

Regular inspections of safety harnesses can help identify potential issues before they become a hazard. Here’s a checklist of things to look for:

Item Inspection Point Action
Webbing Look for cuts, fraying, chemical damage, discoloration, or general wear and tear Replace if any damage is found
Hardware Check for cracks, corrosion, or other damage Replace if any damage is found
Stitching Inspect for loose or broken stitches Repair or replace if any issues are found
Labeling Ensure harness is labeled with manufacturer’s information, serial number, and date of manufacture Replace if any labels are missing or illegible

By following these regulations and guidelines, and regularly inspecting and testing safety harnesses, workers can stay safe and protected while working at heights.

Common wear and tear issues with safety harnesses

Regular inspection and maintenance of safety harnesses is crucial for the safety of workers in high-risk environments. Some of the common wear and tear issues with safety harnesses are:

  • Friction damage:
  • This occurs on the outer surface of the harness when it rubs against other surfaces. Straps may become worn, lose elasticity, or tear, which can compromise its strength. Hence, harnesses need to be checked frequently for cuts or frays in the webbing, broken buckles, and missing stitches.

  • UV degradation:
  • UV rays can weaken the fabric used in the construction of safety harnesses, causing it to break down faster. Workers operating in outdoor workspaces should regularly check the harness for damage caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

  • Chemical damage:
  • Hazardous chemicals can affect the integrity of safety harnesses. Chemicals such as oil, acids, and solvents can break down the webbing and other components of the harness. Workers should be aware of any hazardous chemicals that may be present in their working environment and inspect their harnesses for any signs of chemical damage regularly.

  • Abrasion damage:
  • This type of damage is caused by wear and tear from rough surfaces or debris on the worksite. Workers should inspect their harnesses for abrasion damage and replace them promptly to ensure their safety.

  • Overuse and aging:
  • Safety harnesses have a limited lifespan, and overuse can cause the product to age prematurely. As harnesses age, they can lose their structural integrity, despite appearing to be undamaged. Therefore, workers must inspect their harnesses for age-related damage and replace them when necessary.

Replacement guidelines for safety harnesses

It is crucial to replace a safety harness when they have reached their maximum service period. Different manufacturers have different service life recommendations, and it is essential to heed those recommendations to ensure the safety of workers in high-risk environments. To give you an idea of the maximum service life of a safety harness, see the table below:

Manufacturer Maximum service life
DBI Sala 5 years
Petzl 10 years
Mammut 6 years

However, it is important to note that individual harnesses may have different life expectancy based on usage, wear and tear, and exposure to elements. Hence, regular inspection and maintenance, as well as obeying the manufacturer’s service life recommendation, is essential for maximum safety.

How to Dispose of Old or Damaged Safety Harnesses

Properly disposing of old or damaged safety harnesses is essential to ensuring the safety of workers and reducing the risk of accidents on the job. Here are some tips on how to dispose of safety harnesses:

  • Contact the manufacturer: The first step in disposing of a safety harness is to contact the manufacturer. They may have a take-back program that allows for the harness to be recycled or properly disposed of.
  • Check local regulations: It’s important to check local regulations, as they may require specific methods of disposal for safety harnesses. Contact the local waste management authority for guidance.
  • Do not reuse: It’s crucial not to reuse a safety harness that is old or damaged. Once a harness has been worn or has undergone stress, it may lose its effectiveness and put the wearer at risk.

Additionally, it’s crucial to dispose of the harness properly. Do not toss it in the regular trash as it could end up in a landfill and continue to pose a threat to the environment. Instead, consider recycling the harness if possible. Alternatively, contact a hazardous waste management company to have it properly disposed of.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to safety harnesses. Proper disposal not only ensures your safety but also contributes to a cleaner environment.


When it comes to safety harnesses, it’s important to know their lifespan and dispose of them properly. While safety harnesses should last for several years, it’s crucial to inspect them regularly and replace them if they show signs of wear or damage.

By following the tips above, you can ensure that your safety harness is always in good working condition, contributing to your safety and well-being on the job.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority, so don’t hesitate to replace an old or damaged safety harness and dispose of it properly to prevent accidents and injuries.

Safety Harness Lifespan Maximum Lifespan
Full Body Harness 5 years from the date of manufacture
Lanyards 2 years from the date of manufacture
Connectors 5 years from the date of manufacture

The lifespan of a safety harness will vary depending on the type and brand. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific instructions on inspection, use, and disposal.

Cost of replacing safety harnesses.

When it comes to ensuring worker safety, safety harnesses play a crucial role. They are the first line of defense for workers at height, and it is therefore essential to ensure that harnesses are in good condition and fit for use. However, over time and with repeated use, safety harnesses can start to wear out, and this can compromise their safety performance. To ensure safety, it is important to replace safety harnesses when needed.

  • Cost of replacing safety harnesses can vary significantly depending on the type of harness and the manufacturer.
  • In general, replacing a safety harness is less expensive than purchasing a new one, and it is often more cost-effective to replace a harness than to repair it.
  • Replacing a safety harness is a small expense compared to the costs associated with accidents that can occur when using an old or damaged harness.

It is essential to identify when a harness needs replacement and ensure that workers have access to new, properly fitted, and appropriate harnesses. It is also critical to include the cost of replacing safety harnesses in safety budgets to prevent delays or other issues that may arise due to lack of funding.

Here are some factors to consider when determining the cost of replacing a safety harness:

Factor Cost Range
Type of harness $100 – $500
Manufacturer $50 – $200
Accessories (e.g. lanyards, tethers) $30 – $100
Quantity Discounts are often available for larger orders

It’s important to note that the cost of replacing a safety harness is an investment in worker safety and productivity, and it is relatively small when compared to the potential cost of accidents, injuries, and lost production due to poor safety practices.

Stay Safe, Stay Smart

Now that you know the ins and outs of safety harnesses and their shelf life, you can make an informed decision about when it’s time to replace yours. Remember, your safety is the top priority, and investing in a new harness is investing in your well-being. Thank you for reading, and I hope this article has been both informative and enjoyable. Feel free to visit us again for more life-saving tips. Stay safe, stay smart.