HSE Guidance for the Safe Use of Harnesses

The United Kingdom's authority for workplace health and safety, the Health Safety Executive (HSE) enforces regulations, provides legislative guidance and performs enforcement functions. The HSE offers employers and employees guidance on personal protective equipment such as harnesses.


Designed to keep workers at elevated heights suspended, harnesses encompass the body and reduce impact risks when in proper working condition and used correctly. Employers whose workers encounter heights sufficient enough to cause injury with a fall should consider harnesses as personal protective equipment for their workers.


The HSE provides employer guidance regardless of the level of exposure to height and fall risks, and stresses reducing and/or eliminating the need for elevated work. If working at height is unavoidable, employers should ensure worker protection by requiring safety systems including personal protective equipment such as harnesses. The agency introduced the Work at Height Access Equipment Information Toolkit (WAIT) in 2001 to provide general height risk and mitigation information to employers and workers.

Proper Use

The Executive's office requires employers to train workers using harnesses, determine any other components of safety systems and decide appropriate means of securing the harness at the work site. Employees should work with their employers to ensure harnesses are in proper working condition and report unsafe conditions and equipment.

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About the Author

Candice Bailey has been writing and researching since 2004. She has assisted nonprofit, public sector and private organizations with studies and policy development. Bailey holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a Master of Public Administration, both from the University of Arizona.

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