The Guardian Fall Team Blog

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. And the damage cannot be found and remedied unless equipment is inspected thoroughly.

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 your safety 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 with 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 Instructions

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.

For your convenience, Guardian offers comprehensive inspection forms for most product types on our website. Be sure to check them out today!