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Author: Leah Cooper
Walking upright means that, without balance, every step we take teeters the line between life and death— or less dramatically, going forward and falling down. But after 3.6 Million years since scientists believe our ancestors first stood upright, I’d like to think we’ve near mastered the art, babies, and toddlers not included. But when it comes to today’s construction workers, walking on-site poses many dangers. The ever-present threat of injuries and falls makes construction one of the riskiest professions in the United States; it has also spurred the growth of the safety equipment industry, manufacturing the latest and most improved gear to keep workers upright and safe.
With the decade’s boom in safety technology, contractors are often burdened by company advertising and lofty promises. We often wonder— which brand is the best on the market? The answer isn’t so simple. The difficulty with creating a safety brand stems from a basket of variables: weight, comfort, simplicity, versatility, and durability. But most of all, we need to be concerned whether this product can timely and effectively prevent or react to a work-zone hazard. Such as the case with safety harnesses, the harness must be able to mitigate risk by securing the wearing in place while also preparing countermeasures in an unavoidable fall.
Due to steep competition in safety wearables, it’s not enough to simply match OSHA guidelines: products must be innovative and predictive of various situational needs. That’s why some harness brands have created lines of wearables differentiated by work type. GME Guardian brand harnesses take the lead in multiple options and at drastically different price points.
Guardian Cyclone Tower Climbing Harness
At one of their highest prices points ($207.99) Guardian’s climbing style harness includes premium features for maximum comfort at some of the greatest heights.
Designed for logging, cable installation, and free climbing applications.
Features extra padding and straps to enable wearing to comfortably hang longer, avoiding early onset suspension trauma.
Additional D-Ring at waist level in front for rope access.
Guardian Cyclone Construction Harness with Belt
Designed with general construction work in mind.
Ideal for fall arrest, work positioning, and rescue applications.
Unique to this harness, Guardian included an “X-back” which prevent harness straps from tangling.
Highly adjustable with 5 points of adjustment.
Uses ultra-flow padding technology to wick moisture away from the body, making this harness comfortable for construction work over long
Guardian Series 1 Harness
Inexpensively priced ($46.00), this harness is an economical choice for entry-level work.
Ends of the harness stitched with rubber tabs to make the Series 1 more durable and last longer.
Recommended for outfitting large crews at a great price, roofing, and much more.
Harness can be fitted quicker and easier with the 2-bar torso adjustments.
Of course, it’s important to remember that options and price points may indicate great value, but that doesn’t always guarantee the greatest safety. A work-alone professional that relies on their gear instead of a team would prioritize functional features, like Miller’s H500 Harness made for general construction work. The H500 includes leg, waist, and chest straps to keep the wearer secure. Miller opted for a solid back design to their harness for the ultimate in tangle-free attachments. Its dual front straps are easy to adjust and have buckles made uniquely from aluminum— keeping the Miller construction comfortable harness remarkable lightweight for its large size. Perhaps Miller’s major drawback is price. Miller’s price tags rest on average at least $15 over its competitor’s prices. Some contractors may justify savings for simple applications, but they cannot afford to cut corners for some specialists. The cost of safety has a hierarchy by use.
The safety product sector covers all categories and all parts of the body, for that matter. There are safety glasses, hard hats, welding shields, earplugs, respirators, straps, and more. Some brands may focus on specific products to bring the most significant focus and improvements within a particular field: quality versus quantity. But in some cases, it seems like missing the forest for the trees. A specialty designed harness may epitomize fall protection on its lonesome, but unable to fit the bulk of another brand’s fireproof suit, or incompatible with your company’s existing tethering rope or carabiners, renders the harness a well-designed one-hit-wonder. Like your construction team as a whole, cohesion is needed to get the job done. That’s why many contractors become brand loyalists when it comes to safety gear.
See MSA’s lengthy catalog of safety and protection gear.
Customers choose MSA products because, when in doubt, MSA will have a product for your specific safety need. From fire helmets and hard hats to goggles and fall protection: MSA has you covered from head to toe. Literally. It is a package deal dream for a contractor managing multiple sites simultaneously.
MSA designs are made from identical materials, depending on the application, construction quality, and size specifications. Like family members, MSA products are naturally related and make it easier for consumers to buy compatible products.
That is not to say buyers don’t compromise on quality. Yet reviews do not lie. Despite Costco-sized listings, MSA remains a manufacturer of reliable safety products, confirming its reputation as “The Safety Company.”
Unfortunately, it appears that “which brand is best for safety” is the wrong question to be asking. No one brand definitively takes the cake when it comes to the best performance in safety gear. In truth, it will always be a subjective answer. That in itself is why the safety market has so much room to grow: user preference. The variety of new products in safety equipment and gear are in response to our demand for the next best thing, with this option or that option. Do we want lightweight aluminum or corrosion-resistant stainless steel? Full coverage face shields or thicker anti-glare goggles? Depending on your equipment use, you know your preference.
Stay connected with our GES blog, or other relevant publications like the Safety Gear Blog, for regular updates on safety industry trends and equipment sales. Ultimately, what is best is what works for you.