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Falls: Safety harness saves worker in scaffold collapse

While safety harnesses could be life-saving devices, they could be dangerous under certain circumstances. Falls from heights are high on the list of frequently reported workplace accidents in Illinois and other states. When a safety harness arrests a fall, leaving the victim suspended for too long can have devastating consequences.

A worker in another state was lucky to be rescued by firefighters when he recently fell a distance of about three stories before the safety lanyard arrested the fall. This was one of those accidents that could have ended a whole lot worse. Reportedly, the man was on a scaffold on the ninth floor level when the one side of the platform collapsed. Fortunately, he was strapped into a safety harness and securely attached to an anchor point by the lanyard.

A special response team rushed to effect the rescue and spent approximately one hour to bring the worker safely to ground level. They secured an additional anchor cord for extra safety and strapped him to two workers who then rappelled down the outside of the building to lower him safely. Paramedics then transported the victim to the hospital for a medical evaluation.

Victims of falls in Illinois can suffer frightening consequences. These may include physical injuries caused by the fall or the pressure of the safety harness. Furthermore, psychological injuries can result from the trauma that often follows such an incident. Any medical expenses that follow, along with lost wages if recovery prevented the immediate return to work can be recovered by filing benefits claims with the workers' compensation insurance system.

Source:, "Worker rescued after Key Biscayne scaffold collapses", Walter Morris, March 23, 2017

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