You’ve got a bunch of workers in harnesses to protect them in the case of a fall because they are working from heights. That’s great! Got trained them on how to don the harness, where to tie off and all the other basics of your fall protection program. Awesome! You’re familiar with the ABCs of fall protection (Anchor, Body harness, Connector) and you’ve got a written fall protection program. All very good!
Stop a minute though and consider what happens when one of those workers does take a fall. The emergency isn’t over just because everything functioned as it should and the worker is alive and well and didn’t hit the ground. In fact, some would argue, the emergency has just begun.
Probably the single biggest flaw we consistently find in a companies’ fall protection program is the lack of an emergency rescue plan. When asked “What now?” about what will happen after the fall takes place, the most common answer we here is “We’ll call 911!”. Problem is that’s not an acceptable emergency rescue plan, firstly because OSHA mandates that you have more to it than that, and secondly because 911 personnel simply isn’t trained to do emergency fall protection rescue and finally, because every second after the fall counts.
If you don’t have an emergency rescue plan in place, here’s a great place to start:
This 41 minute video will walk you through every aspect of the emergency rescue plan that you need to have in place. (click on the image above or go to http://www.slideshare.net/kmesser/developing-and-maintaining-fall-protection-rescue-plans