Choosing the Right Harness

As an employer, you have a reasonability to ensure that workplace safeguards are in place which will prevent employees from falling off overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the ground. Making sure you have the right safety equipment is an important factor in staying compliant but with so much choice it is understandable that it can be confusing trying to work out what the right harness for you is. The type of harness you need will depend on several factors; the type of work being carried out, the environment/surroundings you are working in,

After all, when working at heights, your fall protection harness will be your first line of defence.

Size and fit

Forget what you’ve heard, size does matter and harnesses are not a “one size fits all”. Sure, they can come in standard sizings like small, medium, and large options with the ability to adjust the fit somewhat to the user but there will always be some discrepancy and someone of a smaller build isn’t going to be able to adjust a large harness enough to ensure their safety if they do fall.

So, how should your harness fit?

The chest straps should be able to sit across the chest (not the stomach)

The D-rings should sit comfortably between the shoulder blades, and there should be enough room to be able to slide a flat hand between the leg strap and the leg, if you can fit more than a hand between the space then the harness is too big or requires tightening. If you cannot adjust the harness to meet all of this then the harness is the incorrect size and you should try another one.


If you’re spending long periods of time in your harness you want it to be something comfortable.

Some harnesses may include extra layers that *seem *like a comfort issue but actually help protect the worker without having to put on bulky layers of clothing beneath the harness for warmth that could affect its performance. It also prevents layering clothing over the harness which could affect the performance of the lanyard. If a cold-weather harness is what you require then the 3M ExoFit Nex range may be of interest to you, designed to be comfortable and protected when it comes to tower climbing in the wind energy sector.

3M’s ExoFit Nex harness is water-repellent with abrasion-resistant webbing to stay dry and strong. The revolver vertical torso adjuster provides quick and easy adjustment and the dual-lock quick connect buckles provide a fast, simple and safe connection. The integrated suspension relief straps allow the user to adjust and be safe comfortable during longer periods of wear. You can find their sizing chart here.

Type of Work

Your harness options can differ greatly depending on what work you will be carrying out.

If you are carrying out confined space works then a confined space harness should have an EN1497 rescue point to facilitate vertical extraction from space and usually an EN 361 point to attach fall arrest equipment. Our choice in confined space harnesses would be IKAR with their Two Point Rescue Harness with Quick Release Buckles.

Like all harness manufacturers, IKAR has their standard sizing of harness and are aware that body proportions play a vital role in how well the harness will fit the individual that’s why they go above and beyond and offer specially made to order harness if the user requires a smaller or larger size than is usually available off the shelf.

Rope access and positional work harnesses will have EN358, EN361, and EN813 points for abseiling, positional worker, and fall arrest points. For a rope access harness, your choice is unlimited with many brands such as Petzl, Singing Rock, and Elderid to name a few. Our working at height specialist’s pick is the Edelrid Core Plus triple lock rope access harness.

Two Easy Glider buckles on the hips for symmetrically adjusting the harness to the body

Ergonomically cut padding for excellent wear comfort and maximum freedom of movement

Edelrid Core Plus Triple lock sizings

Torso length: 65 – 100cm
Waist size: 78 – 128cm
Weight: 1580g

A basic fall arrest harness will have attachment EN361 points, usually located on the front and rear of the fall arrest harness. For this, our recommendation would be a Petzl Newton fall arrest harness.

Petzl’s Newton harness is easy to wear with straps made in two different colours for immediate recognition of the lower and upper parts. An automatic FAST buckle allows the user to open and close the harness quickly.

Petzl’s Newton Harness sizing:

1                      2
Waist      70 – 93cm      83 – 120cm
Thigh       47 – 62cm      50 – 65cm
Height   165 – 185cm   175 – 200cm
Weight     1050g              1080g

Before deciding which harness to get it is a good idea to look at why and how your workforce will use their harnesses. Whatever your harness needs are, QAB Systems offers you a wide range of choices from some of the leading manufacturers within the industry from Lyon, 3M, and Singing rock to Petzl and so much more.

It is essential that, in order to keep your workforce safe and to comply with PUWER and WAH Regulations, training forms part of your planning.