Keep reading for Inspection Direction from Guardian Fall Protection

Guardian reminds us that fall protection has different specific needs, but these guidelines will give you a good idea of what should be covered in most inspections of fall protection equipment.

Equipment inspection is one of the most important procedures in the world of fall protection. No matter how well designed or high performing the equipment, if it is damaged it will not do what you need it to. Damage cannot be found and remedied unless equipment is inspected thoroughly.

Properly Inspecting a Harness

Prior to each use, a harness must be inspected for deficiencies including corrosion, deformation, pits, burrs, rough surfaces, sharp edges, cracking, rust, paint buildup, excessive heating, alteration, broken stitching, fraying, and missing or illegible labels. IMMEDIATELY remove the Harness from service if defects or damage are found, or if exposed to forces of fall arrest.

Below is an overview of all the major components of your harness that you must inspect before donning it and going to work. Note that, unlike lanyards, harnesses present a less clear path in respect to the inspection process. For lanyards, we start on one end and inspect all the way down to the other end. But for harnesses, a good approach is to consider the harness as a collection of component parts, and inspect each set of component parts before moving on to the next.


Product Instruction

First, make sure the instructions for your harness are readily available. It is extremely important to always read and understand all product instructions before the first use of the harness. If instructions are misplaced, they are available under the 'downloads' section of each respective product page found on the Guardian website.

Impact Indicator

The impact indicator is the most important feature of the harness to check. You should always start with the impact indicator when inspecting a harness, because if a harness has been subjected to a fall it must be removed from service regardless of the existence of other damage. Make sure that the impact indicator is not deployed.

Product Labeling

It is important to check if the product labeling is present, legible, and current. If labels are not present or illegible, the harness needs to be removed from service. Over time, the labeling can become dirty and harder to read, so it is important to maintain the harness well. To help promote the longevity of labels, Guardian locates them beneath a Velcro cover that is sewn directly to harness webbing. Refer to the product instructions for a recreation of all product labels.


Inspect all hardware (buckles, grommets, D-rings, etc.) for damage, alterations, and contamination. Things to look for include rust, corrosion, and deformation. Surface level rust or corrosion may not require the harness be taken out of service, but are strong indicators that potential damage may exist, and that a closer inspection of the affected components is necessary. D-rings must be integral to the harness and pivot freely, and all buckles must connect and adjust as intended.

Lanyard Keepers

Lanyard Keepers must be present with no signs of deformation. Lanyard keepers are essential in securing the unused leg of a dual leg lanyard or SRL. It is never permitted to connect an unused lanyard leg to any portion of the harness other than the lanyard keeper.


Inspect the harness webbing for rips, tears, fraying, and discoloration. It is also important to check if the stitching is in-tact, broken, or is fraying. Always pay particularly close attention to points of friction on the harness, such as where buckles or D-rings may rub against webbing, as heavy use may result in abrasion or fraying in these areas.


  • Each step must involve the inspection for any/all damage, including, but not limited to, corrosion, deformation, pits, burrs, rough surfaces, sharp edges, cracking, rust, excessive heating, and alteration.
  • If SRL fails inspection at any time it must be immediately removed from service and either destroyed or returned to the manufacturer for repair.
  • Always wear gloves and eye protection when performing inspection.
  • Remember the "3-Ds": Deployment, Dates (labels), Defects/Damage/Deterioration.


  1. Inspect the SRL impact indicator. The impact indicator will take the form of either a color indicator on the snap hook/rebar hook, or a shock absorber. Color indicator will display red if deployed. Shock absorber must not indicate any signs of deployment. Visually inspect shock absorber webbing and stitching, but do not cut away protective shrink tube. Shrink tube must remain fully intact at all times. If any sign of deployment is found, immediately remove product from service. If no deployment is observed, continue with the inspection.
  2. Inspect product labeling. All labels provided with equipment at time of shipment from the manufacturer must be present and legible. Now that our first two "Ds" (deployment and dates) are covered, we can move on to inspecting for more general damage.
  3. Inspect the carabiner connection point. If applicable, carabiner connection point should fully rotate/pivot, as defined by the manufacturer.
  4. Inspect all fasteners (pop rivets, bolts, or screws) are fully flush with housing. If applicable, ensure all welds are finished.
  5. Test retraction functionality. You can properly check retraction functionality by pulling out a minimum 4′ of lifeline and allowing it to retract back into the unit housing under light tension; lifeline must fully retract.
  6. Test braking functionality. Pull sharply on the lifeline; brakes must engage.
  7. Inspect full length of lifeline. In addition to any other damage, inspect for any broken stitching, fraying, and bird-caging, as applicable. To check for burrs or other deformation, run your hand along the lifeline while allowing it to slowly retract; remember to wear gloves.
  8. Inspect snap hook or rebar hook. Ensure that a minimum of 2 independent actions are needed to open the hook gate, and that the gate is self-closing and self-locking. Inspect any pop rivets, as applicable, ensuring all rivets are flush with hook.

We'll be looking at how to best inspect a Guardian 6′ Shock Absorbing Lanyard (part # 01220). The key components of this lanyard are the 6′ webbing, stitching, (2) snap hooks, labeling, and external shock absorber.

The most important thing to remember when inspecting any piece of fall protection equipment is to be sure to inspect it in its entirety. This is easy for a single leg lanyard; simply start on one end and go all the way to the other. For more complex products, such as harnesses, a methodical and easy to repeat inspection process is essential to develop in order to ensure nothing is missed.


  1. Inspect First Snap Hook End. Ensure snap hook gate is self-closing and self-locking. Ensure no evidence exists of corrosion, deformation, or other damage.
  2. Inspect Labels. Ensure all product labeling (present at the time of shipment is still legible and attached to the lanyard.
  3. Inspect Webbing. Ensure no evidence exists of fraying, tearing, bird-caging, contamination, or other damage. Run hand along webbing to feel for any abnormalities.
  4. Inspect Stitching. Ensure no evidence exists of broken stitching, fraying, tearing, contamination, or other damage.
  5. Inspect Shock Absorber. Shock absorber must not indicate any signs of deployment (tearing of shrink tube or webbing pulled out of shrink tube). Deployment suggests that the lanyard may have been exposed to forces of fall arrest. Also visually inspect all webbing and stitching under shrink tube as much as possible, but never cut or remove shrink tube to access webbing.
  6. Inspect Second Snap Hook End. In the same manner as you did the first snap hook end.

If any defects or damage are found during inspection, or if lanyard is exposed to forces of fall arrest at any time, the lanyard must be immediately removed from service.

For help in inspecting your Guardian products, we recommend you download the complimentary product inspection forms today.

As a Competent Person, you must inspect and document all of your equipment at least twice a year according to industry safety standards, such as ANSI A10.32-2012, which states, "All fall protection shall be inspected at least every six months by a competent person."

Product inspections are vital to ensuring the correct usage and functionality of your Guardian safety products.

Considering the importance of product inspection, Guardian Fall Protection has recently developed a series of highly organized and comprehensive inspection forms to assist in this process.

 Anchor Point
 Full Body Harnesses
 Self-Retracting Lifelines
 Horizontal Lifelines
 Vertical Lifelines

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