Why is a rescue concept necessary?
The legally mandatory industrial protection does not end with fall protection, but also includes rescue after a fall. If an employee falls from a height while working and is unconscious or unable for other reasons to rescue himself, then rapid action is required.
A well-considered rescue concept ensures that in an emergency all necessary measures can be taken in order to rescue the injured person and then to care for him medically. Every employee should know how he has to react in an emergency, and the steps he must take to protect himself and his colleagues.
All things considered, a rescue concept protects life and limb, and under labour law its creation is a mandatory requirement for employers.
Self-protection as a component of the rescue concept
If a person has to be rescued, impulsive or imprudent conduct can lead to situations in which the rescuers put themselves in danger and, in the worst case, have to be rescued themselves.
This is of course very undesirable, but in the commotion it can happen more frequently than imagined. A rescue concept helps all involved to comply with the correct sequence for a rescue, and to protect themselves accordingly.
What does a rescue concept contain?
The rescue concept should take into account all relevant factors, such as the type of work to be performed, the working equipment used, the relevant fall protection system, and the responsible onsite employees.
It should also clearly define the expected and additional risks that exist (e.g. from poisonous materials), who performs which tasks (e.g. first aiders, emergency call) in an emergency, and the equipment available for the rescue. A visualisation of the rescue process can also be useful, as well as a list of external participants.
Equipment for rescue at height
In order to rescue a person who has fallen and is hanging at height from a fall protection system, the following equipment may be needed, for example:
- Rescue lifting/lowering devices: These are used to raise the person who has fallen or to lower the rescuer down to the person who has fallen
- Fall arrest devices with rescue lifting devices
- Pulley systems: A pre-mounted pulley system saves the use of excessive physical effort when rescuing a person who has fallen
- Descender devices
The respective rescue device is attached to the lanyard and the anchorage device.
If the anchorage device for the person who has fallen is not designed to support more than one person, then a fall risk exists for the rescuer, because of potential material failure, if the same anchorage device is used.
In this context, it is recommended to use anchorage devices tested for multiple users, which can be used both as a fall protection and a rescue system, such as the TAURUS rail system for example. Alternatively there are also anchorage devices to which rescue systems, such as recovery attachments can be attached.
Sequence of rescue measures
If a workmate has fallen and has to be rescued, in principle this is an exceptional situation and a certain level of commotion is understandable and natural. This makes it all the more important that everyone involved is aware of the correct course of action.
This on its own does not require specialist knowledge, but rather an understanding of the rescue sequence, and this should be listed in the rescue concept.
The major key points of a rescue process are:
- A rapid appreciation of the danger situation
- Make contact with the person who has fallen
- Make the emergency phone call immediately (and communicate the situation as exactly as possible)
- Instigate rescue measures (paying attention to self-protection), and
- Provide first aid until the person is transferred to the emergency doctor.
Because every danger situation is different, it is even more useful if all information about the respective workplace is listed in the rescue concept, on the basis of a risk assessment .
Specialist knowledge for rescue at height
Just like the use of a fall protection system, specific user knowledge is necessary for the use of rescue equipment, in order not to put oneself in danger, and to create the prerequisites for rescuing the person who has fallen.
There are appropriate training courses for this, and they provide the knowledge for the correct selection, use, and necessary care of the rescue equipment, and also describe various rescue situation scenarios.
Working on facades frequently creates rescue situations. Read our blog post to find out how a rescue concept can look: Holistic rescue concept for working on facades.