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If your business involves working at height, it’s imperative that you implement a rescue plan before you begin working. It is a vital part of ensuring the safety of yourself or your staff. Falling from height is one of the main reasons for fatalities in the workplace. Common causes are falls from ladders and through fragile roofs.

If an accident occurs when working at a height, emergency services may not reach you as quickly as you would like. This is where a rescue plan would be required.

The HSE Work at Height Regulations 2005 is the main legislation regarding working at height. This states that all regulations apply to situations where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. Employers must measure the risks of working at height and develop a thorough and systematic rescue plan to use in situations of emergency.

Working at height rescue plan

What are the usual reasons for accidents when working at height?

Roof work is high risk and falls from roofs are one of the most common causes for fatalities and. In addition to construction, these accidents can also transpire on roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings. The following are expected to be fragile.

  • Slipping on surfaces
  • Roof lights
  • Liner panels on built-up sheeted roofs
  • Non-reinforced dibre cement sheets
  • Corroded metal sheets
  • Glass (including wired glass)
  • Rotted chipboard
  • Slates and tiles 

What emergencies should your working at height rescue plan cover?

It encompasses a lot more than just falling from height. While this is the main risk, there are other situations that could result in emergency rescues. 

  1. Slipping on a surface

If your employee does slip, they may not be able to climb down. The rescue plan must guarantee they are able to reach the ground without further harming themselves

  1. Concussions from a falling object

While producing your rescue plan, you must reflect potential on site hazards

  1. Unexpected medical emergencies 

An employee could experience a completely different medical emergency- such as a heart attack. Although they may not fall, the rescue plan must ensure they can be lowered to the ground safely.

When making a working from height rescue plan, the HSE requires you to think about the below:

  • The safety of the rescuers when carrying out the rescue
  • What will be the anchor point for the safety equipment?
  • Could the weather compromise the workers’ safety?
  • The suitability of the equipment being used- is it still safe to use?
  • How to safely move the individual once rescued 
  • How to safety attach the individual to the rescue equipment
  • Any other medical needs of the individual during the rescue

As mentioned previously, you need to be considering the distance from emergency services. Guidance suggests that you should never depend on emergency services as your core rescue plan. While you should alert them as soon as an incident occurs, and they should be offering first aid guidance, you need to guarantee everyone on site knows what to do in an emergency. 

Don’t let the first time your workers see this be during the critical situation. Practice makes perfect! It is your duty to ensure there is a plan in place, but there’s no point in having a plan if your staff can’t follow it. Run demonstrations and get your team involved so everyone is prepared and knows what to do if an incident was to happen.

You only get one chance working at height. Make sure you’re correctly trained. To find out more, visit the Shout Out Safety Working at Height Course

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