Imagine you are the supervisor of a construction site, and one of your newest employees is wearing a fall arrest harness while moving roofing materials on top of a building. Unable to clearly see equipment lying on the roof in front of him, he trips, falls off the roof, and is suspended in the air by the harness. It stopped the worker’s fall, but immediate rescue is critical. Being suspended can cause suspension trauma, which could result in serious injury. Death can occur in as little as 10-to-15 minutes.

Suspension trauma includes these symptoms: 

  • Losing consciousness within three to five minutes.
  • Dizziness, nausea, paleness, or narrowing of vision.

Does your employee know what to do next? Do his coworkers know how to rescue him?

What your employees need to know when using a fall arrest harness

If you are suspended in a fall arrest harness, you need to be rescued immediately. But, there are some things you can do to keep your blood circulating while your coworkers rescue you.

  • Deploy the foot straps.
  • Once deployed, push feet against the foot straps.
  • Pump legs to activate the muscles – this keeps blood circulating.
  • Push off against the building, if it’s nearby. As the worker swings away from the building, he will eventually swing back toward it, and can push off again.
  • If foot straps are not available, the suspended worker should continuously pump his legs and push off the building.