Rescue plan 2021

Rescue plan 2021

Rescue plan 2021 covers the preplanned strategy or procedure for safely retrieving a person who is trapped inside a confined space or is suspended due to falling from an elevated work surface. Requires to take several demanding preventive measures. In the event of a hazardous situation in a confined space or suspension in a full-body harness, any wrong action to save a person can have catastrophic consequences, leading to serious injury or even death. 

Rescue plan 2021  is the solution to accidents caused by falls at different levels or trapped inside a confined space. In this sector, it is one of the main causes of work absenteeism, deaths and irreversible injuries. By using this guideline, you can put together a solid plan that adequately protects your employees.

Rescue plan 2021
Rescue plan 2021

What is a rescue plan 2021

A rescue plan is an essential document that must be completed before undertaking any work at height or entry into a confined space for the rescue purpose to prevent injuries and fatalities. You must consider the following point before preparing the rescue plan are:

  • The type of work being done
  • The risks involved in performing the work
  • Any hazards around the work area
  • What actions should be implemented in the event of an incident or accident?

The people who will carry out the rescue should also be trained to ensure that they are trained in the use of the rescue equipment. People who fall while wearing fall arrest equipment are at significant risk of suspension trauma and for this reason, they must be rescued as soon as possible to decrease the likelihood of this condition occurring.

When an emergency occurs inside a confined space, you must act to the best of your ability about potential complex hazards. You don’t want to have to organize or coordinate on the spot. Every second is priceless. 

HSE confined space rescue plan

Human life is at stake. The more successful you are with your confined space rescue plan, the more likely you are to complete the rescue while avoiding or mitigating any impacts on those involved. Think of the plan as simply organized preparation.

Confined space rescue requires you to take several demanding preventive measures. In the event of a  hazardous situation in a  confined space, any wrong action to save a person can have catastrophic consequences, leading to serious injury or even death. National regulations usually require having a well-defined rescue plan, specific to each confined space, documented and periodically reviewed.

The process you must carry out in confined space rescues is as follows:

  • Identify and evaluate the location and with it the dangers of the rescue to proceed with the necessary measures and ensure the task.
  • It is important to keep in mind that rescue in confined spaces requires permanent supervision and validation of the work permit.
  • Companies are obliged to develop an exclusive procedure to implement and execute this type of rescue.
  • When designing the content of the rescue program for confined spaces, roles, responsibilities, risk analysis, inventory and location of the spaces must be assigned.
  • Carry out atmospheric measurements of the scene to guarantee the safety of the workers who will intervene.

You must establish the appropriate means for rescue, before the start of any action of entering confined spaces.  You must establish a detailed rescue plan before entering or beginning work in a confined space. Every time they enter a confined space, everyone involved should review the corresponding rescue plan.

They must also carry out a risk assessment, before entering a confined space. These plans should be practised as part of the training so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a rescue. Without a plan on how to proceed in the rescue, you should never enter a confined space.

Rescue equipment for confined space

It is very important that you proactively identify a suitable rescue plan, find out the proper training and identify the necessary equipment before performing a rescue. Be ready in case you need to rescue someone stuck, passed out, or unresponsive in a confined space.

The ideal rescue equipment in a confined space is the following:

  • Anchoring systems: Tripods
  • Body Support: This takes into account full body harnesses.
  • Connection devices: The equipment is the self-retracting lifelines.
  • Detection for monitoring: In confined spaces, monitoring of gases, particles, vapours, smoke and other types of dangerous substances found in the air is carried out.
  • Education courses: They should teach you the best techniques that allow you to intervene efficiently in all types of confined spaces.
  • Full staff coverage: All employees must be fully protected within the framework of the hazards identified in the risk assessment.

PPE for confined space rescue

Working in confined spaces entails a risk problem that requires taking a series of more demanding preventive measures. In a risky situation in a confined environment, an ill-conceived attempt to save a colleague can have truly catastrophic results, potentially causing very serious injuries or even death.

Make sure you have identified the personal protective equipment, such as air monitoring or gas detection instruments. Also, make sure it is available in good working order before starting any work.

We are referring to helmets, goggles, hearing protection, advanced communication devices, respiratory protection equipment and special clothing such as coveralls, shoes and gloves. All to protect the body from fires, and other dangers in confined spaces.

OSHA confined space rescue plan requirements

In the event of having to put the rescue plan into practice, all the steps indicated therein must be followed. The person who performs the rescue must be the one designated in the plan and have previously received adequate training to do so.

  1. Description of the confined space. Where is it located, and what tasks are going to be carried out in it?
  2. Identify the person who will be available for the rescue, the emergency contact, and the communication methods to be used during the rescue.
  3. Design the tasks that have to be carried out before the work.
  4. List all the rescue equipment that will be available, indicating where they are located and the necessary documentation that confirms that they are in good condition for use.
  5. List all critical rescue factors, including any risks present.
  6. Indicate what the response procedure is, how to notify the emergency contact, and how to carry out a medical evaluation of the person trapped inside the confined space. And how to get workers to perform a self-rescue.
Rescue plan 2021
Rescue plan 2021

Types of rescue 

Three different types of rescue procedures should be applied in order of relevance. In the first place, a self-rescue should be attempted, if this is not possible, a rescue will be carried out without the need to enter and, finally, a rescue with entry when none of the previous options is possible. Below we explain each type of rescue in detail.


The worker manages to rescue himself and safely exits the confined space under his power. Ensure that all personnel know and understand the potential risks, know how to detect any dangerous symptoms and know self-rescue.

The entrance has to maintain good communication with the standby man. The person entering must have an escape or emergency breathing system and oxygen monitoring device inside the confined space to use in case the air quality is contaminated.

Rescue without entering

This type of rescue is performed when the person in the confined space has suffered injuries that do not allow them to get out on their own. The rescue team performing the rescue does not enter the confined space but performs the rescue from the outside. Most national standards require this option.

The person performing the rescue will need a retrieval system consisting of anchorage systems such as a tripod, retractable lifeline and body harnesses. No-entry rescue is often effective in simple vertical or horizontal confined spaces.

Rescue by entry

In this case, the rescue team members enter the confined space to extricate the trapped person. All members who are part of the rescue must have the necessary training on rescue work in confined spaces. 

This option is viable when neither of the previous two is possible. In this case, the members of the rescue team must have the proper training on rescue work in confined spaces and, at least, one person with certification in CPR and first aid.

All those who are part of the rescue must be well informed of the rescue plan for confined spaces and review the hazard assessments that have been carried out for that specific space.

It is important that once the rescue has been carried out, an assessment is made of what happened, how the action was taken and the result to learn as much as possible from the experience and record it.

Work at height rescue plan HSE

Any work that is carried out in the company’s facilities or in the field, which is at a height greater than 1.8 meters from the ground, will be carried out using fall protection equipment, both individual and collective, you must refer to the permit system for work at heights.

Human life is at stake. The more successful you are with your work-at-height rescue plan, the more likely you are to complete the rescue while avoiding or mitigating any impacts on those involved. Think of the plan as simply organized preparation. It is your responsibility to write a rescue plan. Also, if there is a delay in the arrival of emergency services to the site, it could be critical for the worker. You must act quickly.

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The Work at Height Regulations 2005

The main legislation surrounding working at height is the Working at Heights Regulations 2005. These regulations aim to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from a height. Those in charge of any work at height activity must ensure that they plan, supervise and perform the work safely. 

Employers must assess the risks of working at height and develop a detailed and systematic rescue plan to use in emergencies. The competent person must fully understand the plan.

HSE Requirements

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that it must regularly assess and update the rescue plan and related resources, where necessary. Rescue equipment should always be available on site, and you should provide proper training on how to use it.

  • The HSE states that all rescue plans must address:
  • The safety of the people performing the rescue.
  • Any anchor point for safety equipment.
  • The suitability of the team.
  • How to secure the individual to the rescue team.
  • How to move the individual using the equipment.
  • Any medical or other needs of the individual during the rescue procedure.

The roles of HSE supervisors

  • HSE Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all the people in their charge have adequate knowledge about the use of protective equipment against falls, the configuration of anchorage systems and safe work procedures.
  • Confirm and verify that the work area presents safe conditions for the operation and that it is isolated from the passage of people under the work.
  • Confirm that all safety precautions have been taken to prevent contact with energized power lines.
  • Determine if there is a specific procedure for carrying out work at heights.
  • Verify the good condition and use of fall protection and work-at-height equipment.
  • Verify that workers have the Fall Protection certification corresponding to their level of exposure to fall risk. Verify the good condition and assembly of the tower scaffolding and the anchors of the hanging scaffolding.
  • Also implement the necessary measures for the identification, evaluation and control of risks associated with work at heights.
  • Cover all existing risk conditions through control measures against falls of people and objects. Which will be aimed at preventing collectively, and in no case may work be carried out without the prior adoption of said measures.

Risk assessments

You must carry out a risk assessment before beginning any work at height and you must postpone work if rescue procedures are insufficient. There are five steps to a risk assessment:

  1. Identify the hazards.
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Assess risks and decide on precautions
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review the risk assessment and update it as necessary.

Rescue training

A competent person must perform rescues. A competent person is someone who has enough training, experience, and knowledge to help accurately. You must inform the trained rescuer if there is a change in the rescue team, the nature of their work, or the circumstances. They must also receive refresher training at least once a year.

The rescuer must have the skills and knowledge to:

  • If you notice that the weather conditions are not favourable, wait for them to improve, otherwise, suspend this operation.
  • Inform your immediate superior that you are about to carry out this procedure.
  • Verify that the ground on which you are going to perform this procedure is stable and does not imply greater risk.
  • The site you choose as an anchor point must have a minimum resistance of 5,000 pounds (2,272 kg) per person to be connected to it, use the force triangle technique with angles less than 60º, in improvised points such as trees in the field, check well the structures and resistance capacity before connecting.
  • After finishing this procedure, identify the risk and mark the area to avoid incidents to the personnel behind.
  • All equipment, materials and tools must be insured.
  • All personnel involved in the operation must have attended a safety talk before the manoeuvre and the job safety analysis will be carried out.
  • At the moment of starting operations when lowering people, communications must be alert and it must be lifted by order of the descent coordinator.
  • An additional rope must be carried, in case it is necessary to cut the main rope, or as a lifeline in case of rescue manoeuvres.
  • To carry out work at height, the minimum participation of 2 operators will be required with the main objective of guaranteeing safety and possible immediate assistance in the event of an accident.
  • Both the ascent and the descent must be carried out with a uniform slow pace. This will prevent slipping, lack of coordination and fatigue. We should not hesitate to stop in the middle of a staircase when we feel tired. In this case, it is mandatory to resort to the sling or positioning anchor rope and stay completely attached to it, while we relax and catch our breath. 
  • Always climb a scaffold, tower, or ladder with fall protection equipment already on.
  • Limit and mark the work area, preventing access to anyone outside the work or lacking the necessary protection equipment and knowledge.
  • The anchor points will be located above the shoulder at the highest point possible, and it is advisable to use an SLR fall arrester.
  • Once the work is finished, the equipment used will be collected in an orderly manner, carrying out a new visual inspection, notifying any anomaly that is detected.
  • If the equipment used is exposed to chemical substances, it must be recorded in the equipment’s log book. 

What to do in case of suspension of the harness?

The worker who observes that the situation arises should talk to the worker and ask him to calm down while the rescue brigade arrives. You should be instructed to use the pelvic support system to prevent circulatory problems in the lower extremities

Some devices can help us to prevent or minimize harness syndrome. These are anti-trauma straps which are made up of textile straps attached to the sides of the harness. When these straps are unfolded, they serve as a stirrup for doing “squats”. They thus release the pressure of the harness straps and allow blood to flow to the extremities.

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Rescue plan 2021
Rescue plan 2021



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