by Frederike Berg
Steps to follow for setting up a working at height rescue plan
Working at heights on scaffolding presents inherent risks that require thorough planning and preparation to ensure the safety of workers. One essential aspect of this preparation is the development of a work at height rescue plan. This document helps you to proactively address rescue scenarios, enhancing overall safety on scaffolding sites.
But what do you actually have to do to set up the right rescue plan for your work site? Read on to learn about the steps to follow when setting up a rescue at height plan.
Why do you need a working at height recue plan?
Employers are obligated to ensure the safety of their workers and have appropriate rescue measures in case of emergencies. Having a working at height rescue plan is a legal requirement in many countries as it is a vital component of any comprehensive safety program and plays a crucial role in minimizing the potential impact of accidents.
What is a working at height rescue plan?
In short, the working at height rescue plan outlines the necessary actions, procedures, and resources to safely and effectively rescue workers in case of emergencies while working at heights on scaffolding.
The working at height rescue plan should include information about
- the specific hazards at the work site
- the types of rescue equipment that will be available at the site
- the procedures for contacting emergency services
- the responsibilities and procedures for communicating with workers
- any training in working at height and emergency procedures that the workers participated in
Who is responsible for setting up a working at height rescue plan?
If you are an employer and your team has to work at height, you are responsible for preparing a rescue plan. Specifically, working at height means
- any work above ground or floor level (e.g. scaffolding)
- any work with the risk of falling from an edge, opening or surface (e.g. roofing works)
- any work with the risk of falling from ground level into an opening or hole in the ground (e.g. civil engineering projects)
How to set up a working at height rescue plan?
When preparing the working at height rescue plan for your worksite, you should consider the following steps:
1. Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the work site
Before formulating a rescue plan and starting any work at heights, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Identify potential hazards and evaluate the specific risks associated with working on the scaffold. This analysis serves as a foundation for developing an effective rescue strategy. For more information on the working at height risk assessment, click here.
2. Determine suitable rescue equipment and training
Assess the required rescue equipment based on the identified risks and potential scenarios at the work site. This may include personal protective equipment (PPE) such as harnesses, lanyards, and fall arrest systems, as well as specialized tools for accessing and evacuating workers at height. Regular inspection and maintenance of safety and rescue equipment are crucial to ensure its reliability.
Check out the following articles about safety equipment and how it is to be inspected:
- What to keep in mind before using PPE on the scaffold
- What do you need to know about PPE inspections in scaffolding?
- FAQ about fall protection on the scaffold
Note that all team members involved should be trained in the correct handling of the determined rescue equipment. Find more information on proper safety procedures and height rescue on the scaffold here:
- Staying safe when working at height: accident prevention on the scaffold
- Height rescue: what to do after a fall from the scaffold
- What to consider when performing height rescue on a scaffold
3. Establish communication procedures and assign responsibilities
Effective communication is essential during emergency situations. Establish clear communication channels and ensure all workers are familiar with the procedures. If the communication channels can be disturbed, for example by noise at the work site, implement a reliable means of communication, such as two-way radios or signal systems, to facilitate quick and coordinated responses.
To avoid confusion and uncoordinated actions in an emergency, clearly define and assign roles and responsibilities to individuals involved in the rescue plan. Designate a competent rescue team leader and ensure that all team members are trained in their respective roles. Establish a chain of command to streamline decision-making processes during emergencies.
4. Provide your team with regular trainings
Comprehensive training is key to executing an effective rescue plan. Provide thorough training sessions for workers, covering the use of rescue equipment, emergency procedures, and evacuation techniques specific to scaffolding. Regular refresher practices should be held to maintain the readiness of your team in the event of emergencies. For more information on safety and rescue trainings for scaffolders, click the link below.
5. Document and review the rescue plan
It is essential to document the rescue plan in a detailed and easily accessible manner. Include information such as emergency contact numbers, location-specific details, and step-by-step procedures. Regularly review and update the rescue plan to reflect any changes in work procedures, personnel, equipment, or regulations.
The working at height rescue plan summed up
Developing a work at height rescue plan is a critical aspect of ensuring the safety of your team when working on the scaffold. By following the steps outlined above, employers and workers can establish a comprehensive and effective rescue strategy. Remember, proactive planning, thorough risk assessment, clear communication and responsibilities, proper training, and regular updates are key to a successful rescue plan.
Curious to learn more about safety in scaffolding? Also have a look at our other blog posts on the subject.
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