Suspension Trauma

The silent killer


  • Richard Drew Covenant Heath



suspension trauma, safety harness, Harness Hang Syndrome, Orthostatic Intolerance, fall arrest systems


Fall harnesses have become much more prevalent for those that work at heights. Safety harnesses and fall arrest systems are commonly used by the construction industry, mountain climbers and other recreational activities where fall risks are a concern. Through the efforts of occupational health and safety legislation, job site safety programming and workplace harm reduction culture, there is a growing understanding of how and when to don these safety devices and the potential perils associated with their use. However, there is a paucity of information within the healthcare community in how to clinically manage a patient who has suffered a pattern of injury that can arise from these devices - known as suspension trauma. This condition may also be termed as harness-induced pathology, orthostatic shock while suspended and harness hang syndrome. This article helps to increase awareness and understanding of what suspension trauma is and how to pragmatically manage this condition from both a prehospital and emergency department perspective.


2020-10-22 — Updated on 2021-02-02


How to Cite

Drew, R. (2021). Suspension Trauma: The silent killer. Canadian Journal of Emergency Nursing, 43(3), 6–8. (Original work published October 22, 2020)