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Ergonomics. 2009 Sep;52(9):1128-43. doi: 10.1080/00140130902919105.

Development of sizing structure for fall arrest harness design.

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Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.


Updated harness designs are needed to accommodate diverse populations in the current workforce. This paper determined an improved fall-arrest harness sizing scheme and strap-length configurations for harness design. A 3-D elliptic Fourier analysis (EFA) procedure with 123 coefficients was developed to quantify torso-shape effect on harness fit, based on 3-D data of 108 women and 108 men. The EFA coefficients were then applied to 600 representative body scans from a national database of 2382 participants to establish an improved sizing system. Study outcomes suggested a more upward back D-ring location for women than current unisex designs to accommodate female torso form and mitigate their fit problem. Results also suggested an improved system of three sizes for women and three sizes for men. New harness sizing charts for women and men were proposed accordingly. Using the most current 3-D whole-body digital scanning technology, this study assembled data from a US workforce to establish an improved fall-arrest harness sizing system and strap configurations for men and women. The information is useful for new generation harness designs to reduce the risk of worker injury.

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