Proper Fall Protection Equipment Needed for Workers
Workers who perform their jobs at high elevations find themselves in hazardous situations. Using appropriate fall protection equipment is a standard safety requirement. Although this gear is designed to stop falls, it does not always function correctly for post-fall situations. A worker who falls may be stuck hanging in a harness for a while until help arrives, which is a very precarious situation.
After falling and being suspended mid-air in a fall protection harness, a worker can be hanging motionless and upright. This position can lead to suspension trauma, caused by compressed blood flow and a loss of consciousness. If the employee has preexisting injuries or if there are added environmental pressures, it can turn deadly.
Smarter Fall Protection Harnesses
Manufacturers have begun to design better fall protection harnesses that protect workers while in post-fall conditions.
- Additional Handles: These brightly colored handles are located on the back of the leg straps, allowing users to shift their body weight into a sitting position. This promotes better blood flow and reduces stress on the groin area, lowering the risk of suspension trauma.
- Chest Straps: Located along the front webbing, chest straps remove pressure on the worker’s throat and neck and have adjustable back padding that relieves pressure on the collarbone.
Both innovations make it easier to breathe, which helps calm down the user. By increasing the worker’s comfort and safety, additional time is allotted for more successful rescues.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that employers provide workplace safeguards to prevent their personnel from falling into holes in walls and floors, and off elevated workstations and overhead platforms. Even though companies should ensure that their workers have the proper safety gear, this does not always happen; lack of fall protection regularly tops the list of OSHA’s most frequent violations.
When companies plan out projects, employee safety should be a priority. An on-site safety assessment using a team of compliance professionals is a good way to start, with the goal of avoiding employee injury, death, and disciplinary actions related to safety violations. Proactively identifying fall hazards allows employers to design the right fall protection methods and obtain the most efficient and up-to-date fall protection gear.
Fall Protection Basics
Some of the most common elevated locations that require fall protection include steel erections, walking-working surfaces, and scaffolds. For some jobs, employees must be tied off to anchorage devices and lanyards when using fall harnesses; OSHA also provides guidelines for this.
There are several types of harnesses that are designed for different forms of work. Suspension harnesses allow for hands-free work and are used by drilling platform crews, painters, and tower maintenance. Positioning harnesses allow workers to remain in more of a seated position, and retrieval harnesses are appropriate for confined spaces where workers are lowered and raised to perform work.
When considering which fall protection harness to use, factors such as employee comfort, durability, and breathability are all important. Now that harnesses are being designed for post-fall situations, companies should also consider this added safety feature.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP Fight for Injured Employees
If you were injured at work, contact the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP today. We will review your case and obtain the benefits you rightfully deserve for your injuries. Call us at 215-512-1500 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we help employees throughout the state of Pennsylvania.