Access platforms in rescue situations

Lifting and lowering people quickly and safely are two main benefits of using powered access platforms in rescue situations. This is why they are the go to these types of lifting equipment for many rescue situations at height.

The mobility and flexibility of different types of access platform make saving lives safer and easier at a time when every second counts. Whether it’s bespoke access solutions for the fire service, or specialist access equipment to manage rescue situations in awkward spaces, there is an aerial work platform to tackle most risky situations.

Many of the features of powered access platforms suit complicated or challenging rescues from high places:
All terrain access platforms move quickly and safely over rough terrain and stabilise on extreme surface conditions including ice and sand.
Road rail access platforms are interchangeable between both infrastructures and can be used for rescues on remote sections of track and from steep verges or overhead power lines
Boom lifts move vertically and horizontally and are able to reach heights over tricky obstacles such as architectural extensions and trees
Spiderlifts can be used for both internal and external rescue situations and can access and be used in narrow spaces and on fragile surfaces such as paths or floors.

Access platforms in rescue situations

Every now and then a situation may arise when individuals need to be rescued from a powered access platform. Most access equipment has built-in safety controls so operatives can return the raised platform to ground level. Though these systems rarely fail it can still happen so it is vital to have a plan for how people can be brought down safely.

Any rescue plan from an access platform should comply with current health and safety legislation such as the 2005 Work at Height Regulations.  It is important to do a risk assessment for the rescue and keep a record of this assessment and all details of the rescue as this may be important to refer to at a later date.

Here are a few things to consider first of all:
– Activate all normal emergency lowering procedures if possible
– Contact the manager of the site or project to report any failure of back-up emergency systems
– Get the powered access platform checked by a qualified engineer to see if an onsite repair can be carried out

Basket-to-basket rescue

If it is not possible to repair the lowering mechanisms then a basket-to-basket rescue may be necessary. This can be complicated and poses additional health and safety risks so it is important to follow the following steps:

– The rescue machine should be placed in the safest position to minimise any additional danger to anyone involved in the rescue
– Place the two machines adjacent to each other with the smallest possible gap between them
– Attach a double lanyard to both the person being rescued and the anchor points on both machines before the rescue takes place
– Never overload the rescue machine as this could lead to over-tipping or delay the rescue operation
– In exceptional circumstances, where a basket-to-basket rescue is not feasible, emergency evacuation systems such as a crane rescue could be used.

Powered access platforms are a safe way to manage a rescue situation quickly and safely. Carry out a full risk assessment, keep a record of access platforms in rescue situations as they happen and choose the right access equipment for the scenario and most emergencies at height can be resolved quickly and safely.