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Suspension Trauma

The links below lead to sites discussing suspension trauma. Data from these links are contained in this library. Click on the URl to access the source data. Click on the link to the right of the url to access the data in the library. Links to the articles on the internet.

Please review all the articles. Each article discusses Suspension Trauma from a different viewpoint and address different aspects of the event. Articles vary reporting time to death from five (5) to thirty (30) minutes

http://www.brauer.org/node/view/214 Brauer
Suspension Trauma by Alan Sheehan B.E., Senior Vertical Rescue Instructor, NSW SES, Austraila Sheehan text
Sheehan pdf
Will Your Safety Harness Kill You? by Bill Weems & Phil Bishop Kill You text
From Roofing Contractor Magazine. To post the information directly on this page would cost $250.00. Therefore, only a link to the site may be posted here.
U. S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine Office of Science and Technology Assessment Suspension Trauma/Orthostatic Intolerance

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Harness Primer

Dorsal D-ring must be centered over the spine, not more than four (4") inches below the shoulder line. The dorsal D-ring shall be the only attachement point for a fall protection device.

  1. Pants pockets shall be empty. Anything in a pocket may be forced into the crotch and pierce the femoral artery. If the femoral artery is pierced, you can bleed to dead in four (4) minutes.
  2. Leg straps shall be fitted snuggley to the crotch. The force of a loose strap sliding up in a fall will injure genitalia of both genders.
  3. Waist belt shall be snug.
  4. Harness shall be worn outside of all clothing. Lanyard must always free to support you directly, without the interference of clothing
  5. Shoulder straps shall be snug.
  6. When adjusting straps, bend knees and back. Upon standing straight the straps should fit snugly.
  7. The Retractable Life Line (vertical) shall always be connected directly to the dorsal D-ring. Never wear a lanyard between a harness and a retractable life line.

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1. Lanyards:

The lanyard shall always be connected to the fall protection device.

"Y" lanyards shall be used to allow clipping around obstructions and switching from fall protection device to fall protection device.

May not be used as a work positioning device


A Retractable Life Line (vertical) shall always be connected directly to the dorsal D-ring. Never wear a lanyard in between a harness and a retractable life line. Simply put...it stops you within 1 or 2 inches after you've fallen. A lanyard will allow you to fall an additional 6 feet and this could create serious problems. The lanyard is used on the horizontal when you get to the truss. NOTE. The lanyard must be clipped in before you disconnect from the retractable. Also, the retractable cannot be used for horizontal protection, only vertical.

When in a lift bucket, while sitting in a spot light chair at the top of a retractable life line, and when only one connection point is required to complete the work, a single lanyard may be used.

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2. Carabiners:

From Bill Sapsis;

The only carabiners that should be used in our line of work are the Automatic locking type that are approved by OSHA for Fall Arrest. And those beeners should only be used for Fall Arrest. Aluminum and steel beeners, both the locking and non locking type, will fail at ridiculously low loads if their gates are not seated 100% perfectly, 100% of the time. Any of you who can guarantee me 100%/100%, can come and work for me right now and you can write your own check. There are plenty of stories out there about beeners failing and each and every one was due to the gate not being seated properly or that a side load was applied to the gate. My advice. Don't use them.

From Delbert L.Hall

Several years ago I was setting up a hanging effect where a 190lb actor had to drop about 1 foot before being "caught." The effect takes place very close to the audience and needed to look real. After rigging the system I tested it with sandbags. On the third test the new aluminum carabiner, that I was using to connect the load to the cable, snapped. This surprised me because the carabiner had a higher rated breaking strength than the steel cable that I was using. Then I remembered a discussion on the list about copper swagging sleeves vs. aluminum swagging sleeve. One person reported that there was a test that showed that aluminum sleeves failed much sooner under a shock load than copper sleeves. Although I could never verify that that this test had occurred and the results, I now believe that it is true. This would explain why my aluminum carabiner failed under the shock and the steel cable (terminated with copper sleeves) did not. I replaced the aluminum carabiner with a steel carabiner that was approved for use in fall arrest systems, and did more testing. The effect has been used for several years now without a failure. Note: the system is designed so that even if the system were to fail the actor would not be hanged.

3. Multi-loops may be used for positioning at work site.

4. Round slings may be used for positioning at work site.

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Links to fall protection information

How to Select A Full-Body Harness
Another selection guide from International Safety Equipment Association
A guide from Miller

OSHA Fall Protection Its A Snap
OSHA Fall Protection Information

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