Suspension Trauma and the prevention thereof

Suspension trauma is considered the loss of consciousness when a person is held in an upright position with limited movement. This can also result in death.


When working at heights and having your fall broken by a fall arrest harness, it is important to implement preventative measures to avoid suspension trauma.


Regardless of your injuries or the lack thereof, you can still succumb to suspension trauma.


Suspension trauma is also called harness hang syndrome (HHS), orthostatic intolerance, harness-induced pathology, as well as orthostatic shock while suspended.


What can you do to minimise your risk?


When the harness has broken your fall, you need to do the following to prevent suspension trauma:


  • | Adopting a sitting position if possible
  • | Moving into a horizontal position as much as possible
  • | Using legs to push off from a hard surface, keeping the muscles active
  • | Pumping legs frequently to maintain blood flow and prevent venous pooling


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