Dr. Kirsten Davis
Fall prevention and protection is a mandatory part of nearly every type of construction. This project took a closer look at the fall protection equipment used in the construction industry relative to the equipment used in other industries. These industries include high rise window washing, rock climbing, utility lineman, and tree trimming. All of these industries rely on some form of fall protection and the equipment used varies per each unique application. In the construction industry, falls are the highest ranked cause of injury and account for roughly one third of all construction fatalities annually. A closer look at the differences in equipment may provide a more suitable solution to the problems that occur in a post-fall situation. Even with the most modern harnesses in use, there is still a risk for a fatal type of post-fall suspension trauma called orthostatic incompetence. This occurrence is not uniquely dangerous to the construction industry; any fall victim that is suspended for a prolonged period of time can be affected by it. There are products on the market to counter the effects of this phenomenon, but they are not yet used in common practice.