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Looking out for and preventing suspension trauma

| Jan 11, 2017 | Workers' Compensation |

Kentucky employees who are required to work at height often use equipment to protect themselves against falls that could be fatal. However, full-body safety gear can also have risks, especially if the person suffers prolonged suspension after a fall. For example, employees are at risk for suffering orthostatic intolerance, also called suspension trauma.

This is caused by being suspended in the full-body safety system and can include dizziness, fainting, sweating and even venous pooling in the veins. It often develops within minutes of the fall occurring and is more likely to occur if the employee is rendered unconscious by the fall. Although it is not common, suspension trauma can lead to death, so employers should be ready with a plan should a fall occur. In the meantime, there are accessories that can be utilized to delay or prevent suspension trauma.

Suspension trauma relief steps are harness leg straps that provide a foothold for employees after a fall. They allow the employee to flex leg muscles so that blood can continue to flow to the legs and can easily be deployed in case of a fall. A self-rescue harness system, on the other hand, allows workers to slowly descend to the ground so that they do not have to wait to be rescued.

People who are injured as a result of a fall on the job may require medical attention and may potentially be unable to return to work for a period of time. In most cases, they will be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under their employer’s insurance coverage. An attorney with experience in this area of the law can often assist in ensuring that the claim contains all necessary information and is filed within the statutory time period.