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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

With the successful completion of OSHA’s Stand Down for Safety event last week, I’m sure there will be a lot more people in the market for fall protection gear. If you are, it might cross your mind to take a look through the local classifieds to see if you can find a good deal on some “slightly used but not abused” gear, such as harnesses, lanyards, or maybe even an SRL. Good idea? After all, if the gear looks good and seems to work, it should be just fine, right? Not so fast.

A Good Deal Gone Bad

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Let’s say you find a harness. It looks good, doesn’t have any frayed or cut webbing, and, by golly, the impact indicator is still intact. Best of all, the guy is selling it for half of the original price, not bad! But before you go laying out your hard-earned bucks, consider the following: you have NO idea what that harness has been subjected to. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. The guy says he barely even wore it, but what about the guy before him? Who knows how many users the harness has had and how they took care of it? Perhaps the thing has been sitting out in the sun, being hit with UV rays (making it potentially brittle) day in and day out – you think he’s going to tell you that? Maybe to spruce it up for the sale he shined it up with a little Armor-All to give it that fresh-out-of-the-package look, ignoring the commandment, “Thou Shall Not Expose Webbing To Harsh Chemicals.”

And what about the impact indicator? It’s not deployed so surely it’s never been in a fall, right? Not necessarily. It’s possible that particular harness model has been recalled by the manufacturer because testing showed some examples failed to deploy the impact indicator during a fall. How would you know that? The fact is, you wouldn’t. All of a sudden that good deal on a harness is looking less and less like a good deal, and more and more like a recipe for pain stew.

The same caution can be applied to fixed-length lanyard and SRLs as well. In the case of SRLs, because the mechanism that makes the SRL such an impressive piece of gear is located unseen within its housing, there is no way to know if the thing has been fiddled with. What if some shade-tree tinkerer tried to “fix” a slow retraction problem themselves? Do they have the SRL-specific knowledge to properly repair the device? Nope. I can say that with confidence because, with Guardian, our SRLs may only be repaired by our Authorized Repair Centers, whose technicians have been especially trained directly by Guardian to ensure a repaired SRL is returned to the field with the same life-saving functionality it had when it was new.

Clichés Exist For a Reason

I don’t know who originally said it, but “you get what you pay for” is as true today as it has ever been. And it will continue to be so. Sure, there may be places you can buy used products to save a few bucks, but consider the consequences. When you buy that set of used lawn furniture, I’d be willing to bet the consequences of a chair failing during a family BBQ, sending Aunt Margie rolling, are far less than your used SRL failing to stop you from hitting something rather hard. Some risks might be worth taking, while others – not so much. When it comes to fall protection gear, I want to know everything that gear has been subjected to so that I can hit the job every day with the confidence that if something went wrong, my gear was in tip-top shape, ready to save my fanny. Put a price on that kind of confidence? Can’t do it.

Stay In Touch

In addition to buying your gear new and keeping it in your possession to ensure it isn’t potentially damaged or misused, another excellent idea is to keep in touch with the manufacturer. Throughout the lifespan of your gear, the manufacturer may have important information and updates for you. Guardian is no exception. For example, did you know we recently changed our product lifetime from five years to indefinite (provided it passes all inspection requirements), and our product warranty from two years to lifetime? Important stuff, no? We announced both of these recent changes via our Weekly Email Newsletter as well as on our social media platforms. If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter or followed us on social media (Facebook and Twitter), I highly encourage you to do so. That way you can count on this important information to reach you the second it becomes available. Go on, do it now….

A Partner For Life - Literally!

We like to think of fall protection gear as more than just inanimate equipment. Like work partners who know each other, look out for each other, and trust each other, you and your fall protection gear should be just as tight. The best way to make that happen is to buy your gear new, use it properly, inspect it daily, and stay in touch with the manufacturer for updates. Only when you know the full history of your gear can you be certain it will be there for you when you need it.

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