In nearly 40 years of fall protection business Capital Safety has seen many positive changes in our industry. In the past decade we have trained thousands of users in the proper use of fall protection equipment. We have also assisted countless organizations in implementing a comprehensive fall protection program. One common theme in the implementation of these programs is the confusion surrounding rescue after a fall.
A rescue plan should be simple, safe, and designed to meet the specific needs of your organization. It should include self rescue, assisted self rescue, and mechanically aided rescue when needed. If the need of a formal rescue team is identified, the following is a simple approach to achieving your goals
The motto of this manual and the accompanying course is: "Simple and Safe is Best". Whenever possible, the least amount of workers should be put at risk during the rescue. Provided the casualty can be safely rescued with minimal assistance from other workers, which is the best approach to take.
The size of the rescue team is important. Although only one rescuer is sometimes enough, depending upon the resources and medical condition of the casualty there should always be enough individuals to effectively and efficiently conduct the rescue (but not so many individuals as to hamper effective control of the situation). Other employees can always be summoned to assist with raising or carrying personnel, but untrained workers should be kept back from the situation until their services are required. An effective industrial rescue team would consist of 4–8 personnel depending upon the nature and difficulty of the rescue. Some possible rescuer combinations are laid out below:
1 -Team Leader, see below
1–2 Anchor Crew, required to set up anchors for fall arrest and rescue systems
1 - Medical/Rescuer, minimum emergency first aid qualification
Primary responsibility is the casualty's health and welfare. This individual will also be raised up to the casualty if required
1–2 Backup Crew, required to prepare the fall arrest equipment and any belay anchors that may be required below
1–2 Stretcher Prep, prepares the litter for evacuation of the casualty
There should be only one leader who is elected and ultimately responsible for the overall management of the rescue. If a leader is not designated or there is more than one, then during times where important decisions are required, a conflict may result that leads to the failure of the rescue or not completing the rescue in a timely manner. The leader needs to be able to direct all operations, make all critical decisions and thus is responsible for the actions of the team. This does not mean that the leader can not request ideas from other team members, but it is up to the leader to weigh the ideas, provide a solution and plan of attack, as well as direct the operations throughout.