Falls in confined spaces are often painful. Sometimes they require rescue from other team members. In these cases it's important that the fallen worker isn't simply hanging by their harness for the entire time it takes the rescue team to get them out of there.
A typical harness, even though they meet OSHA and ANSI standards for fall protection, will really squeeze the legs when a worker is suspended, and this can lead to a serious problem called suspension trauma (otherwise known as Orthostatic Intolerance or Orthostatic Shock). Suspension trauma straps were developed for just this problem. They are small, lightweight, and attach to either side of a worker's harness.
Deployment of the trauma straps is easy. Well, it's easy if you are just practicing on flat ground. I imagine it will be a bit tougher if you've just fallen 10 ft. with your shock-absorbing lanyard, banged into a metal railing or ladder, and are now swaying out in the open waiting for your guys to pull you up, or let you down. However, even in that situation, you simply unzip the trauma straps on either side of your harness and clip them together.
The trauma straps form a nylon strap loop down at foot level. The loop is attached directly to the harness. When the worker steps into the loop, the pressure changes from the harness leg straps which are by now pinching off your blood supply to your legs and starting to make them feel like a thousand needles are being poked into them, to the bottom of the feet. This is much more comfortable, and allows the blood to flow naturally.
Suspension trauma straps are easy to install onto any harness. They simply choke around the webbing at the hip. Quick and simple. Instructions are on the back of the package when you receive them.
If you have any questions about the Suspension Trauma Straps, just ask. If you have ever used trauma straps after a fall, please tell us about it.
Thanks for reading!