Why you need a rescue plan

Posted 16 May 2018

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.

For example, if a company is contracted to carry out maintenance of plant and equipment such as lightning conductors, then it is the building owner or their facilities management company who are responsible for the safety of those accessing the roof.

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

As a rescue is more often than not carried out under extreme pressure, all aspects of the rescue process must be assessed so that comprehensive rescue plans and procedures can be put in place.

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

  • training

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. If you think Steadfast can help you improve the safety of your site or work at height systems, call us on 01473 834144, or use our online contact form.

by Carolyn Campbell

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