It takes a special type of person to work in high places. If you are in the construction industry, you may earn a premium for working hundreds of feet in the air. After all, most individuals experience some type of acrophobia due to the makeup of the human brain and sensory system.
Falling from a high place can cause serious injury or death. As such, every time you work far from the ground, you must wear fall protection, such as a safety harness, belt or seat. Your employer should train you on the proper use of protective equipment. Still, you should realize that fall protection sometimes causes construction workers to sustain serious injuries. Here are three ways your safety gear may put you at risk:
1. Suspension trauma
Between 1982 and 2015, 42% of construction fatalities involved falls. Fortunately, wearing fall protection is an effective way to stay safe. Nonetheless, your fall protection may cause you to sustain suspension trauma. That is, when you are in your harness, blood may pool in your lower extremities. This can cause lightheadedness that may encourage you to fall after you remove your safety gear. Alternatively, you may develop a pulmonary embolism or another serious injury if you stay suspended for extended periods.
2. Force trauma
Your fall protection may prevent you from plummeting a great distance. It may not, though, offer much protection from other injuries. If you use the wrong harness, you may suffer blunt-force trauma when bumping into objects at the job site. You may also sustain injuries if your harness or other fall protection does not fit properly.
3. Swing trauma
Because of their design, many harnesses swing like a pendulum when they detach. Until momentum decreases, you may collide with the side of a building or another object in your workspace. Unfortunately, broken bones, bruises, lacerations and soft-tissue injuries may occur during a swing injury. Further, swinging at high velocity may cause you to lose consciousness.
Even though fall protection may cause you to sustain a serious injury, foregoing safety gear is not the answer. On the contrary, by understanding the types of injury your equipment may cause, you can take the proper steps to protect yourself.