Seeing that occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem, identifying fall hazards and ensuring that all fall protection equipment is inspected prior to each use is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards. Fall protection equipment should show no signs of wear and tear or deployment and must have all labels present and fully legible. If the fall equipment shows any sign of unsafe condition it should immediately be taken out of service for factory authorized maintenance or retirement. All manufactures’ directions should be followed for care, maintenance and storage.
A critical component of any fall protection program is the rescue. In the past the ambulance would come and rescue the worker of the ground, now due to fall protection the worker is left hanging. High angle rescue operations are conducted and as a result rescue personnel sustain injuries. When simple and practical procedures are used there is a much larger margin of safety, therefore the rescue must be as simple and safe as possible and always be backed up with a secondary system. If rescue teams are to be established it is important that all members receive competent professional training and practice on a regular monthly basis.
Suspension trauma also known as harness hang syndrome or orthostatic incompetence is an effect which occurs when the human body is held upright without any movement for a period of time. A worker strapped in a harness or tied to and upright object for a period of time may faint within 20 to 40 minutes and if the worker faints but stays in a vertical position they risk death due to the brain not receiving the oxygen it requires. If it is impossible to rescue them immediately, then it is necessary to raise their legs to a sitting position which can done with a loop of rigging tape behind the knees or specialized equipment from a rescue kit.