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Your fall arrest protection could put your life on the line

Construction workers in New York face an endless list of safety hazards. Falls from heights make up a significant percentage of construction site injuries. For that reason, fall-related safety training is crucial. If your job involves working at heights, make sure you are familiar with all the hazards of your job and learn how to mitigate them.

Know the correct way to use fall protection and ensure the anchor points are secure. Understanding the risk of suspension trauma can save your life.

How much do you know about suspension trauma?

Your employer might think that preventing falls is enough; however, the risks you will face while suspended are significant. Preventing suspension trauma should be part of the safety plan. The following notes may help you to recognize the risks you will face while waiting for the rescuers:

  • You can suffer orthostatic intolerance or suspension trauma if you remain suspended in an upright position and immobile.

  • With your legs hanging without movement, blood will accumulate in your legs.

  • Venous pooling is the name of this condition that involves too much blood collecting in the veins.

  • The lack of blood circulation will starve your brain and heart of oxygenated blood.

  • At the same time, the leg straps of your safety harness could exert so much pressure on the veins in your legs that it further hampers the blood circulation.

  • Under normal circumstances, the lack of blood circulation will cause you to lose consciousness and fall to the ground, allowing blood to circulate because your legs, body and head will be at the same level.

  • Rescuers must get you out of the upright position as soon as possible to restore the circulation.

  • However, the restoration of blood circulation must happen gradually, and the position in which rescuers place you is crucial.

Left suspended, you could lose consciousness within minutes, and it could be fatal within 30 minutes.

Warning signs

It is essential to learn more about the following warning signs of suspension trauma:

  • The low blood pressure can cause loss of vision.

  • You may feel faint and become very pale.

  • Breathlessness and sweating are also warning signs of suspension trauma.

  • An increased heart rate and hot flashes may develop.

  • Nausea and dizziness will likely occur shortly before you lose consciousness.

Being suspended in a fall harness is always an emergency, and your employer should have prevention plans in place.

Workers’ compensation

If you have to deal with the consequences of a fall and suspension trauma, you will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if a third party’s negligence caused the fall or the suspension trauma, you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit as well. If viable and successfully navigated, a third-party claim might allow you to recover more damages than the typical workers’ compensation benefits of medical expenses and lost wages.

A New York attorney with experience in both these fields can assess the circumstances and explain your legal rights. A lawyer can also provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the ensuing legal proceedings, increasing your chances of receiving maximum compensation under applicable laws.

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