Inspections of Fall Arrest Equipment

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) require employers to maintain fall arrest equipment in good repair.

Fall Arrest Equipment Inspections

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) require employers to maintain fall arrest equipment in good repair, including appropriate replacement. In addition, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 require that equipment which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations should be inspected at suitable intervals and each time exceptional circumstances which might jeopardise safety have occurred.

Employers should establish a regime for the inspection of Fall arrest equipment that is drawn up by a competent person. The regime should include:

  • the equipment to be inspected (including their unique identification);
  • the frequency and type of inspection (pre-use checks, detailed inspection and,
  • where appropriate, interim inspection);
  • designated competent persons to carry out the inspections;
  • action to be taken on finding defective lanyards;
  • means of recording the inspections;
  • training of users; and
  • a means of monitoring the inspection regime to verify inspections are carried out accordingly


These more formal, in-depth inspections should be carried out periodically at minimum intervals specified in the employer’s inspection regime. It is recommended that there is a detailed inspection at least every six months. For frequently used equipment it is suggested that this is increased to at least every three months, particularly when the equipment is used in arduous environments (eg demolition, steel erection, scaffolding, steel skeletal masts/towers with edges and protrusions).

Detailed inspections should be recorded. At PB Training Services we offer these periodic inspections and we have a fully competent and qualified team to inspect them, either at your own site or our premises.

Here are some examples of why your Harness or Lanyard might fail its inspection:

  • The following defects and damage have the potential to result in the degradation and/or weakening of the lanyard:

  • Cuts of 1 mm or more at the edges of webbing lanyards (eg where the lanyard may have been choke-hitched around steelwork);

  • Surface abrasion across the face of the webbing and at the webbing loops, particularly if localised;

  • Abrasion at the edges, particularly if localised;

  • Damage to stitching (eg cuts or abrasion);

  • A knot in the lanyard, other than those intended by the manufacturer;

  • Chemical attack which can result in local weakening and softening – often indicated by flaking of the surface. There may also be a change to the colour of the fibres;

  • Heat or friction damage indicated by fibres with a glazed appearance whicH may feel harder than surrounding fibres;

  • UV-degradation which is difficult to identify, particularly visually, but there may be some loss of colour (if dyed) and a powdery surface;

  • Partially deployed energy absorber (eg short pull-out of tear webbing);

  • Contamination (eg with dirt, grit, sand etc) which may result in internal or external abrasion;

  • Damaged or deformed fittings (eg karabiners, screwlink connectors, scaffold hooks);

  • Damage to the sheath and core of a kernmantel rope (eg rucking of the core

  • Detected during tactile inspection);

  • Internal damage to a cable-laid rope.

INDG367 Inspecting fall arrest equipment made from webbing or rope

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