Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 20 of 51 21 "Anytime where we have the ability to fall to a lower level is typically when we're going to be looking at implementing some type of fall protection system." Dan Henn The New V-SERIES™ Harness Line from MSA. Unexpected Comfort. Because the safest fall protection harness is the one you'll actually want to wear, each V-SERIES harness includes unique features to deliver exceptional comfort – so you can focus on your work, not your harness. Try it for yourself... visit or falls that happen are due to improper selection of equipment," says Cole. Injuries and fatalities will happen not just due to a lack of fall protection but if one is using a system that is not designed to deal with the specific risk factors of the activity taking place in that specific environment, says Henn. Another danger is that of orthostatic intolerance or suspension trauma. Essentially, explains Henn, this is when somebody is hanging in a harness and the lower elements of the harness — particularly the leg straps — restrict blood flow through the legs. This means that a large volume of blood is not being circulated as a result of not being oxygenated. Furthermore, if a soft tissue impact took place during the course of the fall, there could be clotting. As such, when the worker is taken down after a period of time, all the blood will suddenly be released, potentially accompanied by blood clots, and many different things can happen on a cardiovascular level or pulmonary level that are extremely negative. Fall protection is not complete without a rescue plan. The aforementioned orthostatic intolerance occurs when there is no rescue plan in place. "We also need to make sure that we have taken the time to visualize our outcomes," says Henn. "If we examine the working area and the work that has to be done and the hazards associated with working that area and what is going to happen to the worker should they fall with the equipment that they have, do we have confidence that it's going to do what we expect it to do?" "Everyone should have a rescue plan," says Cole. This would be part of active protection. Can fall protection be improved? In short, yes. In the U.S., there are some minimum expectations of products and components for manufacturers, but, fundamentally, "it's up to the user and the employer to make those determinations to ensure that they've bought a product that is compliant with the basic expectations of the regulation," says Henn. Furthermore, all of the requirements are minimum requirements, which can be different from what should be best practice. Fall protection products "are not terribly intuitive," Henn says. "A lot of the outcomes or performance elements of fall protection aren't going to be exceptionally obvious to somebody who isn't educated in terms of how these systems work and what their limitations are." Sadly, says Henn, these best practices are still lacking on many job sites. "I've been doing this for about 17 years now. And I've never been on a job site or in any significant facility where people were using fall protection where I did not see at least one individual who was at risk of being seriously injured or killed because they were not utilizing their equipment correctly." "Make sure you're working safely and make sure your equipment is up to date and up to standard," says Cole. "It's really just about making sure that people are getting back home the same way that they came in."

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