The risk of serious injury or death doesn’t end after a construction worker’s fall has been arrested. Although personal protective equipment (PPE) may prevent ground impact, it may leave you or your co-workers vulnerable to the harmful effects of suspension trauma, also known as orthostatic intolerance or harness hang syndrome.
Suspension trauma can occur due to a natural physiological reaction when someone remains upright while unable to stand. As a construction worker, it is crucial to be familiar with its signs and symptoms as well as how to help prevent negative outcomes.
Fall PPE typically includes a harness and lanyard attached to an anchor point. If this type of system arrests your fall, you are often left suspended in an upright position, with you legs dangling and partially immobile.
This vertical orientation and inability to contract your leg muscles, combined with the pressure on your veins from you harness, can result in blood pooling in your lower extremities instead of recirculating. With reduced circulation, your brain and vital organs may be deprived of oxygenated blood, which can lead to unconsciousness, organ damage or death in a matter of minutes. That is why reacting quickly and utilizing suspension trauma prevention strategies is essential.
There are types of equipment and techniques that can be utilized to help prepare for and prevent suspension trauma injuries and fatalities, including:
Plans should address both when the suspended worker can assist rescue workers and when the suspended worker cannot assist in their rescue. This may be due to a lack of equipment or unconsciousness.
Additionally, fall rescue plans should describe the types and amount of rescue equipment available, how and when to use it, and locations. They should include contact information for key personnel, authorized rescuers, safety managers, nearby hospitals, first responders and OSHA.
Additionally, training can provide rescuers with information on how to keep an unconscious worker’s airway open and treat and monitor the person after a rescue since the effects of the event may not be immediately detectable.
Suspension trauma presents a serious risk that threatens health and safety. By following OSHA regulations, reacting quickly and utilizing suspension trauma prevention equipment and techniques, you can help keep yourself and your co-workers safe after falls.
With the proper workplace safety plan in place, you can minimize the severity and cost of workers’ compensation claims. You may also be able to reduce your workers’ comp costs. Learn more about the cost of workers’ compensation. Get a quote today for workers’ compensation. If you prefer to speak to one of our insurance specialists, please call 888-611-3273.
Insurance services provided by CoverEase Insurance Services, LLC and its licensed agents and affiliates. The information contained within these materials are confidential and not to be distributed. Descriptions are general in nature only. Please refer to the terms and conditions of policies offered or purchased. Insurance products are subject to application and underwriting requirements. Pricing depends on a variety of factors including policyholder location. Not all discounts available in all states. Not all products available in all states. Use of and access to this information, site or any of the links contained within this site does not create a relationship between the user and CoverEase. © 2022 CoverEase, Inc. All Rights Reserved.