When I began my construction career in the early 90s jobsite safety was a priority and I was taught to use nail guns and saws safely. I remember being trained how to use an extension ladder, to always be aware of what was going on around me, and a hundred other things that related to safety. That being said, I don’t remember learning to use personal fall protection equipment.
Over the years that changed; the rules regarding the use of fall protection became stricter, I began to supervise construction projects with volunteers who do not work in the trades, and as I got older I became aware of how quickly life can change for the worse. In the last few years I’ve read a lot about fall protection and OSHA, and taken an OSHA 10 class. For all of those reasons I became more safety conscious and now use personal fall arrest gear as necessary.
About a year ago I contacted a few manufacturers about trying out some of their harnesses. The ones we had in the truck were past their prime and it was time to see what was new and review them for guys who need to buy the equipment. There were too many models to test them all so we tested two or more models (basic and deluxe) from the companies that agreed to send product.
Here’s what we learned about Werner’s LiteFit, Blue Armor 1000, and Blue Armor 2000. Click the links immediately below for information on the other brands tested.
Werner has long been known for ladders and scaffolding, and a couple of years back it got into the fall arrest business. We recently tested a few of their harnesses.
The LiteFit (H3210) is from Werner’s least expensive line of harnesses. It has five adjustment points and is very low profile and light. I tested the LiteFit model H3210, which has slotted pass-through buckles on the straps. Similar to the buckles found on belts you wear with your pants, these buckles are easy to use and nearly idiot proof. I was able to comfortably wear my nail bags over this harness. It can be purchased alone for about $50 or in a kit for about $120 (kit includes harness, reusable roof anchor, rope, and a manual rope grab with an integrated 3-foot shock absorbing lanyard).
Blue Armor 1000
The Blue Armor 1000 series is a step up from the LiteFit rig. It is available in multiple configurations and colors. The model I tested (H1120 Standard) has 5 point adjustment, slotted pass through buckles (like the one the belt for your pants) at the legs, and a pad under the D-ring on back.
Bright yellow and blue, it’s hard not to notice when someone is wearing it. The inspection points are labeled and under one of the front straps is an inspection tag so you can make not of the dates when the harness was inspected. It has what Werner calls Web Alert webbing. As the webbing wears it’ll reveal red fabric under the blue to indicate the level of wear or damage. This is a nice feature because it makes it obvious that the belt is wearing and may need to be inspected.I really like this harness. It’s easy to take on and off, easy to adjust and, and easy to get used to wearing. The tongue buckle leg straps gave me just the right amount of adjustment. You can find this harness online for about $70.
Blue Armor 2000
The Blue Armor 2000 series harnesses are the most feature-rich harnesses in Werner’s line. The model we tested (H1321) has quick connect chest strap and pass-through buckle leg straps. I like this type of strap because it’s quick and easy to adjust—though maybe not so sleek as the adjustable length leg straps with quick connect buckles found on other harnesses in this and the 1000 series.The model H1321 has a back belt with 2 D rings and a removable work belt that you can add nail bags to. It has padded shoulder straps and the Web Alert webbing found on some other Werner harnesses. This rig is comfortable enough but I didn’t like the wide piece at the back of the waist belt because it feels too tall when you wear tool bags over it. My opinion might be different if I didn’t need to wear tool bags. The model I tested retails for about $145.