Why you need a rescue plan
Rescue plans are a vital part of working at height. If something goes wrong, you need to ensure that those working can be recovered safely and as quickly as possible.
A common misconception when it comes to working at height is that when a person accesses a roof, either they or their company are responsible for working out a rescue plan. This isn’t always the case.
If a company is contracted, then responsibility for the safety of the workers lies with the building owner or the facilities management company. Many people in this position are often unaware of the responsibilities they have, which can put lives at risk.
There is a legal requirement under the Work at Height Regulations to include plans for emergencies and rescue when planning work. The Regulations also stipulate that all activities, including rescue, must be carried out by a competent person.
Planning a Rescue
Rescue situations are high-pressured, which mean all aspects of the process should be assessed properly beforehand to ensure the plan is comprehensive and procedures are properly implemented.
This will also help to ensure that the casualty can be helped quickly and given the professional care required. The longer a person is left suspended without moving, the chances increase of serious complications developing.
A rescue plan must be site specific and should take into account the following:
- location of the casualty, for example, obstructions such as signage or lighting or edges which could cause abrasion problems will need careful consideration
- the safety of the rescuer
- type of equipment required for the rescue – additional equipment such as anchor points may be required to enable safe rescue
- suitability of equipment which arrested the fall for use during the rescue e.g. anchors, harnesses, connectors etc
- additional loadings that may be placed on equipment during the rescue procedure
- how to attach the casualty to the rescue system
- where the casualty should be moved to
- first aid requirements of the casualty
Rescue plans should be reviewed regularly and updated as and when required and all those involved with work at height must be made aware of the plans and procedures and updated on any changes.