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Harness & PPE inspection


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I'm trying to find a definitive answer, I've have had various opinions on this subject....


Is there a prescribed lifespan (eg 5yrs, 10 yrs) for harnesses, lanyards and webbing PPE products or is the lifespan determined the manufacturer?


Can anyone point me to a specific regulation if there is one?


Many thanks,



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I've just picked at random a manufacturer's product information leaflet that came with one of their harnesses:-


"Life Expectancy: Frequency and conditions of use together with the quality of cleaning and storage will determine the safe and effective working life of PPE. Such equipment will continue to afford safety protection until routine inspection determines that it shall be withdrawn from service and/or refurbished". And, of course, it's the same words but not neccessarily in the same order from all manufacturers.


If you feel the urge to quote a "regulation", try trawling thru' one of these:-


BS EN 361

PPE against falls from a height: Full body harness


BS EN 813

PPE against falls from a height: Sit harness


BS 8437:2005 provides detailed guidance on the selection, use and maintenance of personal fall arrest equipment.


Though the small print will send you back to "follow the manufacturer's instructions for use".


We custom make our harnesses (which come outside PPE) but you got me thinking that (like with the theatre broom - six new heads and 4 new handles) some of our harnesses are over 50 years old. (Though that may not be our shrewdest advertising slogan).


You have teased us by saying that you have received several 'opinions'. Do give us a flavour.

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There's no regulation defining the lifespan of bits of PPE, but there are regulations requiring the manufacturers to give their products a 'lifespan'.

They're generally pretty arbitrary - and the manufacturers are always careful to specify that the lifespan given is a *maximum*, ie: harsh conditions, heavy use etc., can reduce that lifespan dramatically, in extreme cases to a single use.


For definitive info, you should refer to the manufacturer in question. But for general info, here is a handy link for you.

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We have a blanket rule of 5 years maximum lifespan for our harnesses. This is in line with manufacturers guidelines. Of course, as the above have all mentioned, it depends on usage and environment. Luckily ours all live a pretty sheltered life. I believe the manufacturer reccomends (in our case) 5 years from first use, or 10 years from purchase, whichever is the sooner.

I guess it's more sensible to consult whoever carries out your inspection and testing. Our WAH trainng provider also carries out our regular inspections.

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Thanks everyone, especially Seano for the very helpful TAG link.


I had differing opinions about the time limit issue (from a blanket 5 years from 1st use to 10 years "easily").


I now understand the issues involved better!


Next question that I'm curious about -


Anchor slings for PPE - better or worse than a 2 Tonne Spanset? Or does the same job but not officially PPE so shouldn't be used under regulation xxxxx bla bla bla.

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