Safety Services Company
August 27th 2008
When we talk about safety in the workplace, we often focus on its role as a preventive measure. We see it as a guard against hazards that might happen on the job.But what if safety is compromised and we’re faced with an emergency?
Not so long ago, news circulated on the net about two window washers who lost their lives after a cherry picker tipped over in their worksite. We’ve also heard of other workers falling from high-rise buildings, roofs or platforms and finding their lives literally hanging in a harness. How then do we respond to this kind of emergency and make an immediate kind of prevention: keeping an employee from falling to their death?
Every company needs an emergency response plan that is specially designed for their workplace. It’s important that you prepare a document that provides guidelines in controlling and eliminating fall hazards in different tasks and areas in your workplace.
Connecting steal beams, placing rebar, conducting exterior building maintenance and working on roofs are examples of hazardous tasks.Some areas that pose fall hazards are hoist areas, holes in roofs and floors, unprotected roof edges and slippery or unstable surfaces.
Your emergency response plan should also include procedures and strategies in responding promptly to fall-related emergencies.Make sure to include a chain of command in your plan so that employees know who’s in charge in case a fall-related emergency occurs.
Your plan must indentify important resources like first responders, rescue equipment and medical supplies.Remember to appoint one person who would be responsible for managing the emergency. This way, you have an organized team with just one person assessing the scope of the emergency and designating responsibilities to other employees.
You must also require emergency response training from your on-site employees. Those who work alone must know how to rescue themselves. The same is true with workers who use personal fall arrest systems. You should also consider giving higher level of emergency training to employees who work at remote sites.
Your plan must also identify on-site equipment that can be used to rescue suspended workers.Examples of these are ladders and mobile lifts.You can also use pulleys, brake tubes and winches as technical rescue equipment.
While there are many ways to get suspended in a high place, hanging in a body harness is the most hazardous.In a matter of minutes, a suspended worker could lose consciousness.With the pressure made by the harness on the body, blood flow between the lower extremities and the heart could be constricted.
Pay special attention to seasonal and environmental conditions. They always have a great effect on rescue equipment. That is why equipment that works during summer may not work during winter. Make sure you indicate in your emergency response plan the proper equipment for different seasonal and environmental conditions.
If you think you need help in customizing an emergency response plan for your workplace, feel free to contact us. You may also leave a comment below if you have questions related to safety.