Harness Fall Trauma

Here is a copy of an article i found recently:

3 instructions to prevent HST after a fall arrest

Harness Suspension Trauma (HST) is a risk for everyone using a fall arrest system, which is often overlooked by users as well as the owners of the system. This post explains what HST is, and how three simple instructions can reduce the risk that users will suffer from HST after a fall arrest.

To illustrate this, we’ll cover all the appropriate actions that a user should perform in case of a fall, by means of the following scenario.

A scenario:Imagine two glaziers whose job for today is to replace the windows of the third floor of an office building from the outside. They need to work while standing a small ledge without edge protection.An overhead lifeline is installed to the overhanging roof structure in order to protect workers on the ledge, as shown in the picture on the right.The glaziers are trained in the use of a fall arrest system, and are supplied with all the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): a safety harness, a fall arrest device with integrated energy absorption and some carabiners.They perform a pre-use check on all PPE, in accordance with the instructions in the manuals of their equipment.


They put on their helmet and don their harness, ensuring a snug fit. They check each other’s harness and connect themselves to the overhead lifeline before stepping outside the safe zone.

If you think that the two glaziers are now ready to use the fall arrest system, you’re wrong!

Knowing how to operate a car is not enough to survive traffic. Similarly, knowing how to use a fall arrest system is not enough to survive a fall.

Yes, they are using the system correctly. Yes, the system should arrest their fall before they hit the ground. But then what?

Sometimes, the emphasis that is put on preventing or arresting falls leads to the false impression that the danger is over when a fall is arrested. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What happens when a fall is arrested?

Say that at some point during the window replacement, one of the glazier trips or missteps and falls off the edge. The fall arrest system activates. The fall is arrested and the shock on the glazier’s body is limited thanks to his fall arrest device.

But then what? He’s now dangling in his harness several meters above the ground and is probably unable to stop himself from panicking. He was just exposed to a major shock and a collision may have knocked him unconscious.

Harness Suspension TraumaHanging in a harness is better than a falling three floors to the ground, but make no mistake: the glazier will be far from OK. His blood circulation will be disrupted because the leg straps of his harness are squeezing the veins in his groins. This impedes blood flowing back to his brains and the vital organs his torso. This underestimated danger is known as Harness Suspension Trauma.The symptoms of HST may become noticeable in a matter of minutes: the glazier may become lightheaded and/or nauseas, his limbs may start to feel tingly or numb, he may feel like he’s about to faint, he may experience visual disturbances. HST could lead to unconsciousness and even death if he’s not rescued in time, due to oxygen deprivation of the brain and other vital organs.Harness relief strapsHarnesses can be equipped with a relief strap: an extra strap (or two), attached to the harness near the user’s hips. The user deploys this solution when suspended in his harness, and places his feet on the relief strap. This allows him to stretch his legs so that his blood circulation is not impeded.

When it comes to preventing HST, the importance of using a relief strap cannot be stressed enough. It is doubtlessly the simplest ways to prevent permanent, long-term injuries when working with a fall arrest system. The use of a relief strap drastically improves the condition of a user suspended in a harness, and thereby increases the chance that a user is rescued before losing consciousness.

How proper instructions can save lives

Let’s see what would happen when the glazier is properly prepared for a potential fall:

  • The PPE did exactly what it should do, as the glazier has ensured by inspecting it before use. His helmet prevented that he was knocked out by an impact. So here he is: shocked, but alive and conscious.
  • The glazier is aware of the danger: HST. He knows exactly what to do. He deploys the relief straps to relieve the pressure on his groins. This keeps his blood circulating so that HST doesn’t get a chance.
  • In accordance with the instructions he’s been given, he hasn’t left the sight of his co-worker who has witnessed the fall and who knows exactly who to call for help. The emergency response officer on duty is made aware of the situation promptly. If there is no trained emergency response officer onsite, then the fire department should be notified by calling the local emergency number.

In this scenario, it is very likely that the glazier will be rescued before sustaining serious injuries from Harness Suspension Trauma.

Rescue plan

If you’re responsible for the safety of people working with a fall arrest system, it’s your duty to ensure that workers use the system properly. Giving clear instructions on how to prevent Harness Suspension Trauma is also part of this duty.

You should have a rescue plan in place, which defines how workers hanging in a harness should be rescued. The contents of this rescue plan are not discussed in this post. However, the instructions provided here can be used in any situation where fall arrest is used to protect workers.

XSPlatforms has established three simple instructions that can be passed on to workers using a fall arrest system, that help to prevent that users fall victim to HST when their fall is arrested. To make this as easy as possible, we’ve designed a poster that explains these instructions in plain English.

The poster is free for you to use. Hang it in a place where it is visible for workers, for example near the roof entrance or at the location where the PPE is kept.


OSHA to increase penalty fines

I found this article and thought I you should know.

OSHA penalties set to skyrocket: Are you in compliance?

By Erik K. Eisenmann

Erik Eisenmann is a shareholder in the Milwaukee office of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. where he is a member of the Labor & Employment team and is co-leader of the Occupational Safety and Health Team. Erik represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, from counseling to litigation.

For 25 years, the maximum penalty amounts for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act have remained frozen. A thaw is about to set in — and quick.

The budget act President Barack Obama signed on Nov. 2 contained a provision titled the “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.”

This provision does two things.

First, it directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to make a “catch-up” adjustment, and bring the agency’s penalties in line with inflation since 1990, which is the last time they were increased. Second, it amends the law to allow OSHA to increase the penalty amounts ever year in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

The new penalties

Currently, the maximum penalty that OSHA can impose for “other-than-serious” and “serious” violations is $7,000, and the maximum penalty for “willful” or “repeat” violations is $70,000. This new law directs OSHA to increase both of those penalty amounts to correspond with the rate of inflation as it was recorded between 1990 and 2015. The relevant CPI data were released on Nov. 17, and the maximum increase has accordingly been set at 78.16 percent.

This means that OSHA has the authority to increase the maximum penalties to $12,471 for other-than-serious and serious violations and to $124,709 for willful or repeat violations. The change is scheduled to happen no later than Aug. 1, 2016, but we expect OSHA to act sooner than that using an interim final rulemaking.

Advice to employers

Although this change does not alter an employer’s obligations to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it does substantially raise the stakes for those who fail to comply. Even employers with spotless safety records could now face fines in the six figures for a first OSHA offense.

The changed circumstances make it even more essential for employers to take preventative steps such as providing safety training and conducting self-audits. It is also now more important to ever to seek out experienced counsel when OSHA comes knocking.

The lawyers on Whyte Hirschboeck and Dudek’s Occupational Safety and Health Team are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can work with you through every step of OSHA compliance, investigation and litigation processes.

For more information, contact Erik Eisenmann at 414-978-5731 or eeisenmann@whdlaw.com, David Hertel at 414-978-5303 or dhertel@whdlaw.com, or another member of WHD’s Occupational Safety & Health Team.


Bird Ladder Annual Open House May 14th, 2015

I would like to invite you to our annual open house May 14th, 2015.  We will again feature our pig roast for lunch.  All our equipment will have an additional 10% off that day.  We will have factory reps doing demos on their equipment.  We will be featuring a couple of new items.

The first is the redesigned shingle hoist from Tranzsporter.  It features a new platform, the 200lb model hoist features a 25% increase in lifting capacity, up to 250 lbs(TP250). The new collapsible carriage comes with cam followers for better tracking and handling. Carriage also features an aluminum deck and flap for lighter weight and longer life. A rolled goods/plywood bracket comes with unit and pins into carriage.  For heavier roofing materials, the 400 lb. platform hoist features a  lighter weight carriage and revised track system. The TP400 carriage has a 30% reduction in weight over previous models. The aluminum deck and flap provide longer life and lighter weight.  This carriage also features a re-engineered and simplified cam follower system with less wear parts than other hoists. Rolled goods/plywood brackets comes included and pins into carriage.  Tranzsporter has also developed a new roof guard rail system.  It’s the quickest and easiest guardrail system to install, tear down and no tools required. Galvanized for the same price or less than competitor’s painted steel guardrails.

We will also be demonstrating the Reechcraft powermast system.   The PowerMast is great for mid to high access needs, offering unmatched portability and simplicity for a wide variety of wall access needs, up to 200+ feet. The tools-free mast assembly is not only easy to put together and connect, it is so compact a 65 ft. twin system can fit in the back of your truck or van!  We will have a unit set up at the show.pm_main1  We will also be demonstrating the Powerlift.   The PowerLift is a triple threat: convenient, secure and easy to use. It provides additional security and safety, while still helping you gain access to difficult-to-reach indoor and outdoor spaces. One person can easily move and operate this equipment up stairs or inclines – it’s the lightest low-level lift on the market.ml20

Knaack reps. will also be demonstrating the new model 118-M Data Vault.  A step above the traditional jobsite protection device, KNAACK® DataVault™ mobile provides a highly mobile jobsite connectivity solution, empowering productivity and digital collaboration. KNAACK® DataVault™ arrives on the job ready for use, and is supported with a nationwide manufacture certified support network to bring agile solutions to customers.118-M_PI_outlined_front_doors_open

We will also have our free ladder safety and fall protection classes again this year.  The class times are as follows:

10:00 and 2:00- Ladder Safety      11:00 and 1:00  Fall protection

Please contact chuck@birdladder.com to reserve a spot.  The fall protection classes are limited to the first 20 registered.



Four Tips for Safely Using Ladders

Learning how to safely use ladders is crucial for workplace safety, and it’s a great way for homeowners to reduce the chance for injuries while handling minor projects around the home. Falling from ladders is a leading cause of downtime on the job, and instructing employees how to work while at heights is a proactive way to protect workers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when working at heights. Continue reading

Why Use Construction Trash Chutes?

construction trash chuteWorking on a construction project on a multi-story building can lead to some logistical issues when it comes to disposal of debris. It is important in such a situation, for both safety and efficiency reasons, to use a trash chute.

Advantages of using a construction trash chute
Probably the biggest advantage to using a trash chute is efficiency. Being able to send all your debris down an enclosed chute saves you time. For example, without a chute, your workers would either have to throw or lower debris out windows or secure it and then cart it down elevators or stairs. In either case, it would add time to the job, because workers would be stopping throughout the day to transport debris or stopping work early at the end of the day so that they can pick up debris thrown outside and put it in disposal bins. Continue reading

OSHA New Reporting Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2015, there will be a change to what covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers will now be required to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding about the incident.

Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident.

The updated reporting requirements are not simply paperwork but have a life-saving purpose: they will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards.

Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA. They can call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742), or they can report online at www.osha.gov/report_online.  For more information and resources, including a new YouTube video, visit OSHA’s webpage on the updated reporting requirements.

Roof Guard Rail System

roof guard rail;When employees are required to do maintenance on the  heating and cooling equipment located on the roof they must be protected from falls. The solution must comply with OSHA (Standards-29CFR) 1910.23 and 1926.502.   The simplest way to do this is with a roof guard rail system that is easy to install, requiring no tools and does not damage the roof.  Roof Zone has developed a product, the RZ Guardrail System, that meets these requirements.  Made in the USA,  it’s the quickest and easiest guardrail system to install and remove, requiring no tools, no permanent installation, and galvanized to eliminate rust issues.

The guardrail base mount is hot-dipped galvanized with protective protective vinyl pads attached to protect roof.  The base holds two rails and comes with easy grip openings on each for one or two persons to carry.  Optional toe board brackets are available. The galvanized guard rail are available in 6 ft., 8 ft. and 10 ft. length.  For roof hatch or skylight applications, a swing gate guardrail is available.

For applications where it is required to maintain sight lines while offering fall protection an optional collapsible guardrail bracket is available so the guard rail system can be laid down on the roof to maintain architectural integrity.

Please visit our website for more info or call us at 800-776-3595 for more information.

Maintaining Workplace Safety with Construction Trash Chutes

image of construction trash chute

construction trash chute

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for providing and enforcing guidelines for workplace safety. According to OSHA, construction trash chutes offer a safe and convenient way to remove debris and waste materials from rooftops and elevated areas. OSHA regulations require the use of trash chutes when dropping trash from roofs over 20 feet in height. These chutes must be secured to the building to ensure optimal safety for construction workers and others in the working area. The lineup of construction trash chute packages offered by Bird Ladder and Equipment Company is designed to comply with all applicable OSHA standards and provides real help for workers in managing waste disposal tasks in the working environment. Continue reading

How Steel Scaffolding Is Engineered To Improve Safety

At Bird Ladder, we realize steel scaffolding is of the utmost importance for the construction of new buildings. Since construction remains a crucial industry, safe scaffolding plays an indirect but important role in bolstering the economy

Safety engineering for steel scaffolding is a unique field in and of itself. Experts in this field take precautions to ensure that construction workers can use scaffolding without facing undue risk. Fortunately, engineers have developed a number of proven methods for making steel scaffolding safe and secure. OSHA has outlined quite a few rules for reasonably safe scaffolding. However, it is up to scaffold designers to elaborate on these guidelines through personal experience. Although scaffold engineering is a fairly deep and complex subject, the basics of safe scaffolding are relatively simple and easy to understand. Continue reading