Suspension Trauma: 3 Must-Know Myths

suspension trauma

Suspension trauma has a few different names—Harness hang, harness-induced pathology and orthostatic intolerance (the medical term). Consequences can be fatal, and it’s important to be aware of symptoms and ways to prevent its onset.

Suspension trauma has its fair share of misconceptions—One of the biggest is that it’s a myth. 

In this article, we discuss three myths that surround suspension trauma you must know. 

MYTH #1: SUSPENSION TRAUMA ISN’T REAL

It is! Suspension trauma happens when a worker’s movement is vertically suspended, restricted and upright for an extended period of time and lose consciousness.

But why does this happen? Blood pools in the legs and makes them swell, while blood pressure drops. Typically, when orthostatic intolerance sets in the victim faints so blood will re-circulate through the body—A worker in restrictive fall arresting equipment can’t do this. 

It can be minor, too—A common example is people who are still for long periods of time and faint, or feel dizzy when they get up. 

Now, imagine you’ve arrested a fall, don’t have a rescue plan and first responders are still on the way. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and now 25 minutes pass. You know that suspension trauma can set in after just 30 minutes. Time is ticking. You’re covered in sweat, you feel dizzy and terribly nauseous.

Finally, you’re cut down and pass out, unconscious. You’re in the hospital—There’s paperwork, lost-time and incident investigations to happen. Who knew a little slip could cause so much trouble?

Yes, you’re alive, but next time, you’ll definitely have a rescue plan. And suspension trauma is real.

MYTH #2: SAFETY HARNESSES MAKE SUSPENSION TRAUMA EXTINCT

Suspension trauma is still a reality. Yes, education, training and equipment reduce injuries and fatalities in industrial workplaces, but prevention is still a priority. Look at it this way—Vaccines exist for illness like the measles, but people still contract it when they don’t use preventative measures. 

Individual factors increase a worker’s risk to develop the trauma, and its effects are not easy to predict person-to-person. 

These factors include: 

  • Individual’s ability to manage anxiety/stress
  • Harness selection & fit
  • Poor training
  • Previous injury or illness 

This is why training is vital. It’s important to teach employees not only what happens when you use the wrong PPE, but psychological coping mechanisms to help a worker deal with a potential fall. Proper training will also emphasize the importance to continuously move your legs in specific ways to maintain circulation—It’s important The right safety harness and leg straps will allow the worker to move 

MYTH #3:  WHEN THE HARNESS IS OFF, IT’S OVER 

Okay, so when I take the safety harness off I’m fine, right? Wrong.  

Workers in vertical positions must receive medical attention immediately after release. In past suspension trauma cases, victims have died after the harness comes off—This is known as ‘rescue death’.

Some doctors think it’s caused when blood tries to circulate through the body at its normal pace, and can’t. Did you know leg muscles are one of your body’s auxiliary pumps? When legs hang, motionless and upright, it pinches the arteries and blood can’t flow to crucial parts of the body, like the heart and brain. 

  • Leg circulation
  • Heart circulation
  • Brain circulation 

Fortunately, like we mention above, industrial environments benefit with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to prevent suspension trauma. Recorded injuries from suspension trauma are somewhat rare—But training and proper PPE are key to this.

A body harness that doesn’t fit properly, is fit with the wrong accessories or is uncomfortable, does more harm than good. Remember—Suspension trauma does exist, the right safety harness help prevent it and negative effects of suspension trauma can linger after the harness is off. It’s important to train yourself and workers (even those who may not be working at heights) of the risk and procedures to take before, during and after a fall.


START BEING SAFETY SMART

STAY SAFE AT WORK AND LEARN THE SKILLS TO GET THERE AT THE HERCULES TRAINING ACADEMY.

TRAINING@HERCULESSLR.COM 902-468-6827


FOR RELATED ARTICLES

VISIT OUR BLOG:

HERCULES TIPS: IS YOUR SAFETY HARNESS COMFORTABLE

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

DON’T SLIP UP: FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries. 

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

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Don’t Slip Up: Fall Protection Glossary

fall protection glossary

Sometimes you just want a quick, simple definition without all the fluff, so we’ve created a fall protection glossary that does just that.

Do you use a fall arrest system? If you work at 10-feet or higher, you need it – no ifs, ands or buts. Fall protection is a combined system of plans and equipment workers use to protect themselves and their tools from slips or falls, prevent them happening in the first place and minimize worksite risk. 

Read on to discover our fall protection glossary, and stay up-to-date on important safety terms. 

Like our fall protection glossary? Check out our Rigging Glossaries One and Two, and our guide to Rigging Slang.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: A 

ANCHORAGE

A way to securely attach your fall arrest system to the rest of your equipment. 

ANCHORAGE CONNECTOR

A piece that connects and secures your fall arrest, prevention or protection system so it can withstand the forces of work and a potential fall. 

ATTACHMENT POINTS

Loops or d-rings that connect to the body, and allow the worker to attach other components of a fall protection system to it. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: B

BODY HARNESS 

A full-body harness is used to protect workers it does this by distributing the fall’s force throughout the entire body, and ensures the worker’s body remains upright, even after a fall occurs. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: C

CCOHS

The Candian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety is a federal department corporation, and Canada’s national resource for workplace health & safety information. They promote the well-being – physical, psychosocial and mental health – of Canadians by providing information, training, education, management systems and solutions that support health, safety and wellness programs.

CONFINED SPACE

A confined space is an (often enclosed) area not meant for long-term human occupation, with limited exits and entries. Although these spaces are not usually built for humans, work needs to be done there – Some examples of these confined spaces include sewers, aircraft wing (a great example of a confined space that’s not necessarily enclosed), tanks and silos. 

CONNECTOR

A piece of small equipment, or accessory that’s used to connect parts of a personal fall arrest system – These range from individual components, like a carabiner, or those of a larger system, like a d-ring on an absorbing lanyard.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: Dfall protection glossary

DBI-SALA

DBI-SALA® products are trusted for the past 75 years, to help them get the job done well and get home safely. DBI-SALA® delivers fall protection solutions that enable workers to do their best work safely and comfortably. 

DECELERATION DEVICE

Any device used to slow a fall, or absorb energy to lessen the impact of a fall.

DECELERATION DISTANCE

The additional distance between the location of an employee’s attachment point when the fall occurs, between the attachment point’s location when the worker’s fall stops.

DEFLECTION

What tools do when dropped from heights – dropped objects don’t fall straight down, they tend to deflect in another direction (and can often harm innocent bystanders metres away, who are unrelated to the worksite).

D-RING (ATTACHMENT POINT)

An attachment point (can be on the front or back) that lets a worker connect pther components to their fall protection system, like a lifeline or deceleration device. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: F

FALL ARREST 

Fall arrest is the range of fall protection that focuses on the safety of a person who has already fell. 

FALL DISTANCE

Fall distance, or free-fall distance is the term given to the vertical displacement of the fall arrest attachment point on the worker’s fall protection equipment. 

FALL PROTECTION

Refers to the systems and equipment that keep workers safe at heights.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: H

HOLSTERS

Attachment for tool belt to prevent dropping tools when working at heights.

HORIZONTAL LIFELINE

A line held by anchorages, and lets worker attach a lanyard, SRL or other component for horizontal travel. These can be configured to arrest a fall, or for total restraint.

HAZARDS

Any object, situation or act that could cause injury, ill-health or damage workers, the property and the environment – These aren’t always readily apparent, but many hazards can be managed or minimized. There are many different types of hazards, including:

  • Ergonomic
  • Physical
  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Biological 
  • Psychosocial 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: I

IMPACT RESISTANCE

This is an object’s ability to withstand strong forces or shock applied  for example, a worker’s safety harness and lanyard must be able to withstand the wear and tear that regular work gives.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: K

KARABINER

A connector (see below), or coupling link used to secure ropes, harnesses or other components of a fall arrest system. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: L

LADDER

Device used to extend a worker’s reach and work at heights. Commonly-used across a variety of industries to ascend and descend. 

LANYARD

A lanyard is a connection point to your harness, and can be constructed of rope, webbing or cable.  

LEADING EDGE

A leading edge is an under-construction and unprotected side of a surface (think a roof). Its location normally changes as work changes. Leading edges are normally sharp, abrasive and present hazards that you can minimize with fall protection. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: O

OSHA

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is a regulating US agency who’s responsible to make sure workplaces are safe, and work within the necessary regulations and safety standards.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: P

PROTECTA

Protecta® Brand has comfortable features and fit, like shoulder pads, moisture-wicking back pads, and foam hip pads with mesh for extra breathability. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: R

RESCUE / RESCUE PLAN

Retrieval plan for worker’s at heights or in confined spaces – a rescue plan is an essential part of any fall prevention plan. 

RISK MANAGEMENT

Risk is present at nearly every jobsite, and risk management refers to the act of minimizing and managing those risks so hazards, injuries, fatalities and high financial consequences are prevented.

ROPE GRAB

A rope grab attaches to a safety harness, and typically is less costly than an SRL. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: S

SAFETY HARNESS

A safety harness (also see body harness) is used to protect a worker if they fall while working at height, or in a confined space by catching them as they fall. 

SHOCK-ABSORBER

Webbing device used to extend or lessen forces on the worker if a fall occurs.

SELF-RETRACTING LIFELINE/LANYARD

A self-retracting lifeline, or SRL is a deceleration device with a spring-loaded cable or line that will brake the worker if a fall occurs. They typically are a longer length, and are best applied when a standard shock-absorbing lanyard would not be able to stop the fall in time. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: T

TOTAL RESTRAINT

Refers to the control of a worker’s movement by the connection to an anchorage and restrictive equipment that doesn’t adjust, so a worker is completely stopped when a fall occurs. 


PAY ATTENTION TO FALL PREVENTION!

FIND MORE INFORMATION ON FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT, HOW TO CALCULATE FALL DISTANCE AND MORE ON OUR FAVOURITE SAFETY PRODUCTS FROM BRANDS LIKE 3M, MSA SAFETY AND HONEYWELL-MILLER BELOW.

3M DBI-SALA®

3M DBI-SALA® HARNESSES & LANYARDS

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT HARNESS


FOR MORE ON FALL PROTECTION,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG:

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

FALL ARREST SYSTEM: DON’T FOOL WITH YOUR TOOLS


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Safety at Stake: New MSA V-SERIES™ Fall Protection

msa v-series

A BIG DAY FOR HARNESS WEARERS 

The MSA V-SERIES harness line is now available!  Introducing the V-FLEX™, V-FIT™, and V-FORM™—each designed for your comfort and safety needs.

Focus on your work instead of your harness. Why V-SERIES? We have three reasons:

1. Exclusive racing-style buckle eliminates the need for chest straps, creating a closer, more comfortable harness 

2. Athletic cut contours the harness to the body for increased upper torso mobility

3. Pull-down adjustment allows wearer to easily and quickly make adjustments to get the right fit

The safest fall protection harness is the one you’ll actually want to wear. Each V-Series harness delivers exceptional comfort – so you can focus on your work, not your harness.

SUPERIOR COMFORT

Exclusive racing-style buckle allows for a close, comfortable-fitting harness—Eliminating the need for bulky chest straps or cumbersome buckles.

 
INCREASED FLEXIBILITY

Racing-style buckle creates an athletic cut, contouring the harness to the body for improved upper torso movement on the job. 

 
ADJUSTABILITY

Pull-down adjustment allows you to quickly get the right fit that lasts throughout the work day.

 

 

 

So, what’s included in the MSA V-Series™? msa v-form series

MSA V-SERIES V-FORM™ SETTING THE STANDARD

Features: 

Racing-style buckle

Athletic cut

Pull-down adjustment

Easy-to-inspect stitch patterns 

msa v-series

MSA V-SERIES V-FIT™ RAISING EXPECTATIONS

Has all the benefits of V-Form™, plus:

Body-conforming shoulder pad 

Coated webbing

Horizontal leg straps

Dedicated attachment point for Personal Fall Limiters 

msa v-series

 

MSA V-SERIES V-FLEX™ RAISING EXPECTATIONS

Has all the benefits of the V-Fit™, plus: 

Thermoform shoulder pad designed for cooling

Leg padding

Swiveling hip juncture for mobility 

Integrated suspension 

 

MSA Safety Fall Protection Systems


WANT MORE MSA SAFETY?

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG:

MSA SAFETY: NEW V-SERIES ENERGY ABSORBING LANYARD

MSA PRESS RELEAS: NEW JET-STYLE FIREFIGHTER HELMET

NEW FROM MSA: SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Confined Spaces: Hercules’ Safety Tips

confined spaces safety training from hercules slr

What is a Confined Space?

Confined spaces are present in nearly every industrial trade, and most workers will encounter at least one confined space during their career.

The OSHA states that nearly 90 deaths occur per year, across a range of industries involving confined spaces. Almost 2/3 of these fatalities are caused during an attempt to rescue someone in a confined space—having an efficient, established retrieval plan in place is essential to preventing death and injury.

A confined space is defined as a entirely or considerably enclosed space, where dangerous conditions are present due to lack of oxygen or hazardous substances.

What else constitutes a confined space? A space which is large enough for a person to enter or exit, has limited or restricted exits and isn’t designed for extended human occupancy. A confined space may have more than one opening, however—if a worker must climb through various obstacles to access the opening, this may be considered a confined space as well.

Confined spaces also may temporarily appear on a work site through construction, fabrication or modification. Tunnels, manholes and silos are all examples of confined spaces.

What is a Permit-Required Confined Space?

Not only are permit-required confined spaces difficult to enter, they present serious hazards like inadequate ventilation or noxious air. These include:

  • Hazardous atmosphere or potential for one;
  • Material, like grain that could engulf an individual;
  • Walls converging inwards, or floors sloping downward and tapering into a smaller area that could trap or asphyxiate an individual;
  • Any other recognized hazards, like unguarded machinery, heat stress, or a fall hazard.

These confined spaces present a great threat as they’re more likely to cause fatalities—a quick and simple exit, or rescue must be possible for workers in confined spaces. The safest rescue strategies involve no additional employees entering the space—retrieval equipment should be used unless unsafe to do so.

Confined Space Training

 

What Makes Confined Spaces Dangerous, Anyway?

Not only are confined spaces difficult to enter, exit and navigate, they present a series of other dangerous threats many workers may overlook. Dangers commonly present themselves when welding, painting, flame cutting or using chemicals in a confined space. Other risks include:

  • Lack of oxygen;
  • Poisonous gas, fume or vapour;
  • Liquids and solids suddenly filling the confined space, gas releasing in the space when disturbed;
  • Fire and explosions;
  • Residues left behind that give off gas, fume or vapour;
  • Hot working conditions;
  • Falling objects;
  • Moving parts of equipment or machinery;
  • Electrical shock resulting from defective extension cords, welding cables, etc.;
  • Poor visibility;
  • Materials travelling through piping like gases, hot substances or water.

Fall-Prevention Training is Essential for Safety in Confined Spaces confined-spaces-fall-prevention

As previously mentioned, having an established and efficient rescue plan for workers’ in confined spaces is essential. Fall protection, or prevention training is another not only important, but essential step to ensure safety.

There are five main steps to consider when safeguarding a confined space:

  1. Guard the entrance: A guardrail, barrier or another temporary cover must be in place to prevent entry (i.e. an accidental fall) into the space.
  2. Wear fall-protection gear: All workers, even those not working in the space should have proper fall-protection gear. Dangerous factors may affect nearby workers, like fumes. Equipment like Restraint Lanyards that stop an appropriate distance from the confined space should be used by other workers.
  3. Make sure vertical access is safe: Typically, a ladder or a davit arm with a winching mechanism is used to safely access the confined space.
  4. Use fall-arrest equipment: The main components of fall protection for a confined space are an anchorage, body support and a connector. Workers should have a backup for their primary entry and exit source. If using a ladder for example, the worker should also have a retractable lifeline and a winching mechanism, or may have a safety harness with a retractable winching mechanism to lower, and raise workers into the confined space. Equipment will depend on a vertical or horizontal entry.
  5. Training: If a workers is unfamiliar with fall-protection equipment, the term itself or has no recorded instances of fall-protection or prevention training, the employee must be trained to inspect and use fall-protection equipment and know general information regarding fall-protection.

Find fall-arrest equipment, and more safety solutions for working in confined spaces at Hercules SLR. Click here to read more on how to select the best fall-protection equipment for confined spaces.

Original Article: http://www.capitalsafety.com/en-us/Documents/New-OSHA-Rescue-Requirements-for-Confined-Space-Retrieval-Firl-Argudin-OHS-November-2015.pdf

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.