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Preventing suspension injuries after a fall

North Carolina employees who routinely work at elevated heights may be interested to know that there are health risks associated with prolonged suspension while in a full-body harness after a fall event. They may also benefit from learning of the ways to avoid sustaining suspension injuries after a fall.

Orthostatic intolerance, or suspension trauma, occurs when an individual is suspended in a fall-arrest system after falling. The effects of the condition vary and may be determined by the individual’s health. Typical symptoms can include weakness, sweating and fainting, the accumulation of blood in the veins and dizziness. It can occur within just a few minutes of a fall, particularly if the individual has lost consciousness and is hanging in a full-body harness. In some extreme cases, orthostatic intolerance can result in death.

In order to prevent the occurrence of orthostatic intolerance, it is important that employers have a rescue plan and equipment on standby to conduct a quick retrieval. In fact, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, a quick rescue in the case of a fall accident is mandatory. The agency recommends that there should be contact with a fallen worker no more than six minutes after the fall occurs. In order to prevent or postpone the onset of orthostatic intolerance, fallen workers can use an accessory that provides them with a foothold to flex their muscles and increase circulation. They can also use a self-rescue device that can be attached to a full-body harness.

As this issue illustrates, sometimes even safety equipment can result in workplace injuries. People who are harmed in this manner may want to meet with an attorney to see if filing a workers’ compensation claim is an appropriate course to take.


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