A fall protection rescue plan is an important component of any comprehensive safety program for workers at heights.
By having a fall protection rescue plan in place, your employees will be better prepared to assist and rescue a co-worker who has either fallen from an elevated surface or become suspended at height.
OSHA requires a fall rescue plan when workers are working above ground. Your fall rescue plan should be tailored to your worksite and should consider the specific hazards and risks associated with the work being performed.
Please note that this article discusses elements of both, a fall rescue plan, and a fall protection plan, which deals more with fallen worker rescue. You can read more about the Fall Protection Code released by ANSI in 2021.
What Does a Typical Fall Protection Rescue Plan Look Like?
A typical fall protection rescue plan includes information on the types of fall protection equipment to be used, the roles and responsibilities of workers and rescuers and the steps to be taken in case of an emergency.
Here are some of the main steps that you may want to include in your fall rescue plan:
Identify potential fall hazards on your jobsite and assess the risk associated with them.
Develop and implement fall protection measures to minimize the risk of falls. Consider the use of personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, a self-retracting lifeline, or other forms of fall protection.
Develop a rescue plan that outlines procedures for rescuing workers who have fallen or become suspended at height. The rescue plan should include details such as who will be responsible for carrying out the rescue, what equipment will be used and how the rescue will be coordinated.
Train all workers and managers on the rescue plan and conduct regular drills to ensure that everyone is prepared in case of an emergency.
Establish communication protocols to ensure that workers can easily and quickly report emergencies and summon help when needed. Include information on how to contact emergency services.
Ensure that all rescue equipment is properly maintained and readily available when needed to increase the likelihood that a prompt rescue proceeds quickly and efficiently.
Conduct regular inspections of your personal fall protection equipment to ensure it is in working order.
Document all aspects of the rescue plan, including risk assessments, fall protection measures, and rescue procedures, and make this information readily available to workers and emergency responders.
By following these steps, employers can help to ensure that workers are protected from falls and that they are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in case of an emergency.
Related: Working at heights can present significant dangers and risks. Check out our recent article on leading edge fall protection.
Unique Factors to Consider During a Confined Space Rescue
Confined spaces are areas that are not intended for continuous occupancy and are typically difficult to enter and exit, such as: tanks, silos, sewers, tunnels and manholes.
And while a confined space rescue may not necessarily involve a fall, it does typically involve the use of fall protection rescue equipment to retrieve an individual who is trapped or injured in a confined space.
Confined space rescues require careful planning and execution to ensure the safety of everyone involved. The rescue team must be able to access the confined space and safely remove the victim while avoiding a variety of hazards, including toxic gasses, lack of oxygen, and physical obstacles.
A confined space rescue can involve some or all of the following fall protection rescue products: harnesses, ropes, retrieval equipment, ventilation systems, gas detectors, communication devices and personal protective equipment.
Related: Learn more about confined space training in our article here.
Popular Fall Protection Rescue Products
This confined space rescue system is designed with durability and reduced weight in mind and can be used for raising, lowering, work support or personnel rescue.
The complete system is rated at 350 lbs. for working loads and 310 lbs. for fall arrest. Includes 7' aluminum tripod, 60' Salalift™ II winch and 50' Sealed-Blok™ 3-way SRL with galvanized cable, mounting brackets, carrying bags and leg mount pulley.
These kits deliver peace-of-mind during unexpected, stressful peer-rescue situations. The rescuer can remotely attach the system to the suspended worker, while remaining securely anchored on the working surface. All rescue components are contained in one easy-to-store kit.
Premium Kit includes a backup braking system that acts as a secondary fall protection device. In case of accidental release of rope by the rescuer, a foolproof backup will quickly stop the system. This unit has a 400 lb. weight capacity.
This strap allows the worker who has been subject to a fall, and is suspended, to stand up in their harness and relieve the pressure being applied to the arteries and veins around the top of the legs. After a fall, the strap can be quickly and easily deployed and adjusted.
The strap accommodates either having one foot or both feet in the loop at a time - it will relieve the pressure to both sides with just one foot in, allowing for added movement of the legs. The compact unit is easily fitted to most harness sizes, styles and brands.
The Safety Step is designed to help workers in a post-fall suspension position avoid the effects of suspension trauma. This unit allows workers to relieve pressure by inserting a foot into one of the step loops and then standing up in the harness. Workers can use a single Safety Step or two Safety Steps (one for each leg) to provide additional support, balance, and comfort. This lightweight, versatile strap attaches to any harness and accommodates all heights and sizes.
Feel free to contact our Safety Support Team to help you select the correct fall protection rescue plan products for your particular workplace. In almost any situation you have, we can offer you options that best fit your budget or specific needs.