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    HARNESS SUSPENSION FIRST AID

    HSE advice on first aid management for harness suspension 

    Employers need to consider any emergency or rescue procedures for those working at height especially where fall arrest systems are used. HSE state that it is not acceptable to rely on the emergency services. Procedures need to be covered in the risk assessment and planned prior to the work activity starting. The key is to get the person down safely in the shortest possible time and before the emergency service response. Motionless head up suspension can lead to a range of negative symptoms in most subjects within 1 hour and in a fifth within 10 minutes.

    Following an evidence based review HSE has confirmed that no change should be made to the standard first aid guidance for the post recovery of a semi conscious or unconscious person in a horizontal position, even if the subject of prior harness suspension. The sometimes quoted suggestion of recovery in a semi-recumbent or sitting position was considered to be without any sound evidence base and may prove dangerous through prolonging the lack of blood return to the brain.

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