Thankfully due to improvements and stricter enforcement of Health & Safety protocols in Ireland the use of Fall Arrest/Personal Fall Protection devices attached to your Safety Harness has become common place for the on-site worker over the last few years.
We all know the local roofer that can tell stories about near falls, the relation who never needed a Fall Restraint Lanyard while up on a scissors lift or hoist as that's just not how things were "back in the day".
Maybe even some of you reading this may wince at the thought of a close one or a chance you took while working at height in the past. But now things have changed, there are endless options to choose from for each specific need and no excuse to be properly protected. Plus, no Safety officer is going to let you near the site without a product that's not only in the bag, but GA1 certified also after an inspection and in date.
But despite the common misconception that "the safety officer has my head driven mad now they are saying i need a Fall Arrest or Fall Restraint system" being a bad thing, they are in fact right because not many of us stop to think What If I Fall??
Image credit: https://www.hseblog.com/emergency-rescue-when-working-at-height/
What If i Fall - Suspension Trauma as an issue
In the event of a fall in a safety harness and the activation of a fall arrest system which leaves the user suspended in the safety harness, Harness Suspension Trauma can occur. In an article by OSHonline in 2017, OSHA identified that "suspension trauma could be fatal within 30 minutes of the initial fall" and according to Protekt the "average fall waiting time for rescue is 15mins" and can be more. This is a short window and it is vital that while waiting for rescue, the user is able to stand up to relieve the pressure being applied to the arteries and veins around the top of the legs.
Our own Health & Safety Authority in Regulation 109 of their 2007 General Applications Working at Height stated "The need for rapid and effective rescue is particularly important when using personal protective systems as a delay might have severe consequences"
Image Credit: https://safetymattersweekly.com/safety-tip-of-the-week-suspension-trauma/
What is harness suspension trauma?