Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Potential dangers of fall-arrest gear in Virginia

Although personal protective equipment is essential for individuals who work at great heights in Virginia, this equipment may also present a danger to someone who has fallen. In some cases, a person who is stuck in a full-body harness may experience orthostatic intolerance, which is also called suspension trauma.

Suspension trauma can lead to a number of symptoms, including weakness, dizziness, fainting or venous pooling, which is when blood accumulates in a person's veins. In rare cases, it can cause death. This condition may occur within a few minutes of someone being immobile in a body harness, and it is more likely if the person who fell is unconscious.

OSHA requires that employers promptly rescue a worker who has fallen, but this is not always possible depending on where the person fell and the working conditions. Employers may want to take advantage of things like suspension trauma relief steps, which help reduce the risk of suspension trauma by improving circulation and allowing people to stand upright. Alternatively, integrated self-rescue harness systems may work in some conditions to allow workers to lower themselves to the ground after a fall.

If someone is hurt while they are at work or as a result of their job, they may have access to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits provide coverage for medical expenses, including visits to the doctor, physical therapy and other forms of treatment. Additionally, if someone has to miss work due to their injury, workers' compensation may provide a percentage of their wages. If someone has been harmed at work, a lawyer could assist them in applying for benefits or appealing denied benefits if their claim was turned down.

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