After a successful fall stop with a full body harness and retractable, any good egg will be happy to still be in one piece. But, if immediate recovery back to a standing position is not possible, another less known danger is lurking around the corner; and it is called Suspension Trauma.
Suspension Trauma occurs when the human body is held upright without any movement for a period of time. If the person is strapped into a harness in upright position the person will eventually(in as little as ten minutes) suffer the central ischaemic response( fainting). If one faints but remains vertical, one risks death due to one’s brain not receiving the oxygen it requires.
OSHA states “Suspension in a fall arrest system can result in unconsciousness, followed by death, in less than 30 minutes”. ANSI Z359.2 states that contact with a suspended worker must be within 6 minutes.
Most jobs I have been graced with did not have a real rescue plan for a suspended worker other than the buddy system and if your buddy can’t help they would call the fire department. If you are equipped with these two items maybe you won’t end up with your brain “scrambled”.
Suspension Trauma Safety Straps
The Trauma strap is an indispensable item for anyone working at height, and helps to mitigate the effects of Suspension Trauma, in the event of a fall. By allowing the fallen worker to assume a standing position and relieve pressure on the lower extremities, the Trauma strap allows better blood flow and reduces fatigue.
If you have a job location where you will be inaccessible to help you may want to consider a Self-Rescue Pack made by 3M DBI SALA. It attaches to virtually any harness. in the event of a fall you just pull a ripcord and the self-rescue device slowly lowers you to the ground. it comes in 50′ and 100′ models.
There is nothing quite like climbing ten stories up shimmying 15′ out a beam and dropping a wrench. Talking about a walk of shame. On top of that, dropped items from an upper level to a lower level is a leading cause of construction injury. Fall Protection is about you Drop Protection is about everyone else. Cracking your shell sucks,;But, cracking someone else’s shell sucks EGGS.