Fall Safety Harnesses Can Kill

| Total Words: 499

There are wide ranges of situations requiring a safety harnesses in work and play. What is little known however is that these harnesses can also kill.

Harnesses can become deadly whenever a worker is suspended for durations over five minutes in an upright posture. It is called suspension trauma. This can occur in many different situations in industry. A carpenter working alone is caught in mid-fall by his safety harness, only to die 15 minutes later from this suspension trauma. Another example is a worker being lowered into a shaft. After five minutes he will be unconscious and in 15 minutes later a dead body will be hauled out. Fall protection researchers have recognized this phenomenon for decades. Most users of fall protection equipment, rescue personnel, and safety and health professionals remain unaware of the hazard.

Suspension trauma death is caused by orthostatic incompetence; it can occur any time a person is required to stand quietly for prolonged periods and may be worsened by heat and dehydration. It is most commonly encountered in military parades where soldiers must stand at attention for prolonged periods. Supervisors can prevent it by training...

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