EN 361 – PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AGAINST FALLS FROM A HEIGHT – FULL BODY HARNESSES
EN 361:2002: Personal protective equipment against falls from height – Full body harnesses
This European Standard describes the requirements, test methods, marking, manufacturer information, and packaging specifications for full body harnesses. Other types of body support, detailed in other European Standards (e.g., EN 358, EN 813, and EN 1497), may be incorporated into the full body harness. Fall arrest systems are detailed in EN 363.
Full body harness
Harnesses hold the wearer in place and distribute their load during fall arrest (i.e. being brought to a stop following a period of free fall).
Harnesses are subject to a performance test in which a shock load, exceeding that likely to be experienced in use, is applied. In addition, the test will indicate the harness’ response during use, specifically the angle at which the wearer will be held in the event of a fall.
In preparation for testing, the harness is fitted to a 100 kg solid torso dummy and connected by the harness attachment to a 2m length of 11mm mountaineering rope, chosen specifically to generate a known force in the harness in the event of a fall. This rope is attached to a secure anchor point and the dummy is released over a distance of 4m. This test is conducted twice on each harness attachment, once from a head-up position and once from a head-down position (i.e. with the dummy upside down on release). To pass the test, the harness must hold the dummy following both drops, with the dummy held in a position that does not exceed 50° from the upright position. These tests are conducted on each of the harness’ attachment points.
Products’ tensile tests are based on a factor of safety relative to the 6 kN expected during use. Harnesses are subjected to a 15 kN tensile force applied upward followed by a 10 kN force applied downward. Lanyards are subjected to either 22 kN or 15 kN applied between the attachment points, depending on the material used. The application of an increased force tests the effects of aging (e.g., abrasion, wear and tear) on the lanyard’s protective capacity. Tensile forces are usually applied and held for at least 3 minutes to ensure the breaking strength of the product exceeds the force specified by the standard.
Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt spray test to determine whether the product can provide a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (e.g., rust). Products are held in a sealed chamber filled with a saltwater mist, which can cause untreated metals to rust. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours of exposure and examined thereafter for signs of rust and to assess whether each device can continue to function properly.