Rescue plans are the most overlooked element of a fall protection plan. This is typically due to more emphasis being placed on preventing falls and protecting workers. However, if rescue and retrieval were treated as critical and strictly enforced components of the plan, we would likely see a sharp decline in construction fall fatalities and OSHA claims and citations. Our OSHA lawyers encourage you to read part one, part two, and part three of our series for more insight on rescue plans. In this last section, we will discuss factors to consider when developing a rescue plan and types of rescues.
Things to Consider When Developing a Rescue Plan
As stated before, 54 percent of construction workers that died as a result of a fall were not wearing a personal fall arrest system. A fall rescue plan goes hand in hand with fall arrest systems. When creating the plan or modifying your current one, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will perform the rescue (e.g., external and internal sources).
- Where will the rescue be performed?
- What type of equipment is needed for the rescue?
Every system will have its own rescue procedures. Each procedure should include the type of rescue system, the location of rescue anchorages, the equipment needed, an attachment to the worker’s harness, required rescue training, and equipment review prior to system use.
Types of Rescue
When fall arrest systems are used on jobsites, employers are obligated to have a rescue plan and training to ensure workers understand procedures. Some rescue scenarios are complicated and some are simple in nature (e.g., only requiring a ladder). Consider the following types of rescues:
Self Rescue: The majority of fallen workers can perform a self rescue by climbing back up to the level the worker fell from or returning to the ground/floor. Afterward, the worker will remove all personal fall system components, seek any necessary medical attention, and notify the assigned emergency contact and document the incident.
Mechanically Aided Rescue: This rescue can be performed with mechanically aided systems such as ropes or an aerial lift, for example.
The way you go about protecting your workers speaks volumes about the type of business you run. After putting measures in place to prevent falls, take the necessary steps to ensure that even if a fall happens, you are prepared to take immediate action to retrieve a worker.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.