Occupational Health & Safety Magazine cites fall protection rescue as the most commonly overlooked aspect of fall protection, with even the most prepared and proactive companies minimizing the importance of a rescue plan and rescue training. Employers should always remember that, under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, a fall arrest system necessitates a rescue plan and rescue training.
In this article, a roofing lawyer in Illinois will discuss the factors involved in creating a rescue plan, choosing the correct fall protection equipment, and providing appropriate rescue training for authorized workers. Only a combination of these aspects will ensure the necessary fall protection for your workers.
Under OSHA standard 1926.502(d)(20), employers are required to “provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.” This should include written rescue procedures for all active fall protection systems and corresponding rescue training. These procedures should address the potential for trauma during the rescue and how a worker will be handled to avoid any post-rescue injuries. OSHA provides a rescue plan checklist for employers:
- Determine who will be performing the rescue and the necessary level of training
- Understand the type of rescue that will be performed
- Determine if the rescuers will be on-site or stand-by and their corresponding response time
- Perform a safety analysis of the rescue.
Related: OSHA Fall Protection Plan
The types of fall arrest systems and rescue procedures being used on your jobsite will ultimately determine what kind of fall protection equipment will be necessary. The type of rescue equipment is important to take into consideration, as it will determine the location of the worker after the fall and the risks which may occur while suspended. The OSHA rescue plan checklist recommends that the following rescue equipment and supplies be readily available on site:
- Rolling edge protectors to protect the rope from abrasion and sharp edges
- Designated anchor points for rescue equipment
- Anchor straps and carabiners to create an anchor point when one is not readily available
- Rescue devices able to raise or lower a worker
- Ropes and lifelines for rescue and evacuation
- First aid kit and defibrillator
Related: All About Anchor Points
In accordance with OSHA standards 29 CFR 1915.159 and 29 CFR 1926.503, employers are required to train workers how to use fall protection equipment and fall arrest systems. Any workers who may perform rescue procedures or wear fall arrest devices while working should undergo rescue system training. This training will involve hands-on demonstrations of a number of rescue scenarios and corresponding rescue procedures to ensure the authorized worker is confident in performing safe rescues from any heights and locations they may be working at.
OSHA’s Safety and Health Information Bulletin on Suspension Trauma/Orthostatic Intolerance also outlines that workers be trained in:
- How suspension trauma or orthostatic intolerance may occur
- The factors which can increase a worker’s risk
- How to recognize the signs and symptoms of suspension trauma
- The appropriate rescue methods to dimension risk during suspension
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.