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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Safety Idea

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Mines - Underground and Surface
Category: Fall Protection

A miner from New York warns the industry that prolonged suspension from fall arrest systems can cause "suspension trauma." Suspension trauma occurs when a person falls and is suspended vertically with very little ability to move the legs. This causes blood to "pool" in the veins of the legs. "Pooling" results in restricted blood flow to the brain and other major organs and can result in unconsciousness. If the person is not rescued promptly, serious injury or death may occur.

Avoid Fall- Suspension Trauma With the support of management, this miner decided to raise awareness of the potential problem and take preventative action. It was decided that if a rescue can not take place in 10 minutes then you must relieve the harness leg strap pressure as quickly as possible by taking the body weight off the leg straps. As a preventative measure, "Rescue Ropes In Buckets" were placed at all mine site locations where fall protection is used. The "rescue rope" is a simple and effective method for relieving the pressure from the harness leg straps by allowing the person to step up into the loop of the rescue rope to shift weight and relieve the pressure until rescuers arrive.

For more information about suspension trauma use this link.

MSHA extends a thank you and a tip of the hardhat to
Eric Kechejian (Tilcon New York, Inc.),
a winner of a limited edition sticker and patch.

If you have a tip you would like to pass on, you can email it to
If your tip is selected, you will receive credit in this space.

Issued: 03/23/2006
Tag # AP2006-0092345