3M Fall Protection Safety Tip

Fall Protection Safety Tip: What Do the ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2021 Safety Requirements for Full Body Harnesses Changes Mean for You?

On March 18, 2021, the American National Standard for the Safety Requirements for Full Body Harnesses was approved with an effective date of May 01, 2022. After this date, manufacturers are now required to conform to this latest revision of the ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 standard document. The requirements of this new standard supersede any corresponding requirements in ANSI/ASSP Z359.1, Z359.3 and Z359.4 American National Standards.

The information contained in this summary is derived from 3M Fall Protection’s review and interpretation and is not intended to be a substitute for reading the official ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2021 document in its entirety.

This standard applies to full body harnesses (FBHs) used in occupations requiring personal protection against falls from heights and, if required, shall allow for the specialized functions of travel restraint, positioning, suspension and/or rescue.

Let’s take a look at the historical timeline of the product standards and regulatory requirements addressing full body safety harnesses used in personal fall protection systems:

  • ANSI Z359.1 first provided performance guidance on full body safety harnesses in May 1992.
  • ANSI Z359.1 was reaffirmed in 1999 without changes to harness design.
  • In 2014, ANSI Z359.11 was published defining the Requirements for Full-Body Harness for Personal Fall Arrest Systems. Only minor changes were incorporated in this revision.
  • March 18, 2021, ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 was published with an effective date of May 1, 2022 for manufacturers to comply. This revision incorporates some product performance changes that are noted below.

What Notable Changes and Updates to ANSI/ASSP Z359.11-2021 Have Occurred?

  1. Definition for “Fall Arrest Indicator” is renamed to “Visual Indicator” ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 Section 3.1.7: All FBHs shall be equipped with a visual indicator that will deploy during dynamic testing defined in and, when attached to the dorsal attachment element. All indicators shall be located where they can be visually inspected.
  2. New marking requirements if integrated D-Ring extender is present ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 Section 5.1.3, j: If the full body harness includes an integrated D-ring extender, a warning shall be included on the D-ring extender that increased free fall should be considered when using this product.
  3. New head first dynamic testing peak impact load requirement.
    • a. New language clarifying that during the head first dynamic test on the dorsal D-ring, if you cannot achieve at least 3,600 pounds (16 kN) at a 6-foot drop height you do not have to increase the drop height to obtain the 3,600 pounds (16 kN).
    • b. The test torso remains at 220 pounds (100kg), the same as previous standards. The peak impact load shall not be less than 3,600 pounds (16kN) as indicated in ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 Section 4.3.3,e.
  4. Definitions Incorporation a. All definitions in ANSI/ASSP Z359.0 applicable to full body harnesses have been incorporated into the ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 document.
  5. New pictogram labeling requirements.
    • a. All FBH’s shall be marked with a pictogram that is applicable to the FBH D-ring configuration and intended application. ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 Section 5.1.3, k: Applicable pictograms in Figure 12 with a minimum height of 0.8 inch (20mm) or applicable pictograms from CSA Z259.10-18 Figure 1-Figure 8. For examples of these pictograms, please see our technical bulletin on this ANSI/ASSP Z359.11 standard update.

As stated previously, all FBH products manufactured after May 1, 2022 will be required to conform to this latest revision of the ANSI/ASSP Z359.11. As an industry leader, 3M Fall Protection is committed to meeting or exceeding this requirement.

Products manufactured to previous revisions of the ANSI Z359.11 standard may continue to be used as long as the product continues to meet the inspection requirements as defined by the manufacturer, conducted at the recommended intervals by a Competent Person.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the information presented in this update, please contact us at 1-800-323-6146.