General Considerations for Fall Rescue

30 Sep

According to various Departments of Labour (South Africa not exempted),  falls account for a substantial amount of all work-related trauma injuries leading to death.

It is therefore essential that there is a specific rescue plan and adequate resources in place for each worksite where work at height is carried out. These should be regularly assessed, and updated where necessary. Resources should include not only equipment but also personnel who have been trained in the use of that equipment. 

When planning for rescue, consideration should be given to the type of situation from which the casualty may need to be recovered and the type of fall protection equipment which the casualty would be using. 

A distinction may be made between the terms "rescue" and "evacuation".

  • Rescue typically involves the recovery of a casualty by another person either remotely or directly.
  • Evacuation is typically carried out by a stranded user to escape from a remote situation such as a tower crane or narrow aisle truck. 

All rescue planning and operations should address the following issues: 

  • The safety of the persons carrying out or assisting with the rescue
  • The anchor points to be used for the rescue equipment.
  • The suitability of equipment (anchors, harnesses, attachments and connectors) that has already arrested the fall of the casualty for use during the rescue.
  • The method that will be used to attach the casualty to the rescue system.
  • The direction that the casualty needs to be moved to get them to the point of safety. (raising, lowering or lateral) 
  • The first aid needs the casualty may have with respect to injury or suspension trauma
  • The possible needs of the casualty following the rescue  
  • The loads placed on some items of equipment during a rescue may be higher than they have been originally designed for.
  • If equipment is used for rescue either individually or in systems, the supplier should verify that it has suitable performance and loading characteristics in that specific configuration. This applies to all parts of the system including the anchors. 
  • The anticipated loads during the rescue situation should be within the loadings specified in the manufacturer’s user instructions. 

To learn more about Fall Protection Plan and Rescues, enrol for our Fall Protection Plan training course. Email: or call +27 11 083 6811.

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