In an emergency, rescue platforms can help. Every second counts which is why powered access platforms are the number one choice of lifting equipment for many rescue situations at height.
The mobility and flexibility of different types of rescue platforms enable emergency services or rescue teams to work at speed and from a secure lifting platform when time is of the essence.
Rescue platforms are frequently deployed by the fire brigade who include vehicle mounted lifting equipment in their fleet to reach people and spaces quickly and safely. Because access equipment is multi use, many of the features of powered access platforms suit complicated or challenging rescues in a range of environments. For example:
– Boom lifts move vertically and horizontally and are able to access hard to reach heights over tricky obstacles such as rooftops and trees
– Spider lifts 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.
– 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
Occasionally the emergency situation might involve rescuing people from the work platform. These types of accidents are rare and powered access platforms have built-in safety controls so operatives can return the raised platform to ground level. However problems can be caused by a range of factors including, but not exclusively, mechanical failure, human error or adverse weather conditions.
Though these systems rarely fail, it is vital to have a plan for how people can be brought down safely. Rescue plans should comply with UK health and safety legislation such as the 2005 Work at Height Regulations. It is important to do a risk assessment for the rescue, to keep a record of this assessment and note all details of the rescue as they may be important to refer to at a later date.
Here are a few steps to consider in an emergency:
– 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
If it is not possible to repair the lowering mechanisms then a basket-to-basket rescue may be necessary. In exceptional circumstances, where a basket-to-basket rescue is not feasible, emergency evacuation systems such as a crane rescue could be used.
Rescue platforms enable emergency services and rescue teams to manage a rescue situation at height, quickly and safely. Rescue planning should be part of the risk assessment and many scenarios can be avoided by careful planning, a trained and competent workforce and a well performing machine, all of which are best practice for anyone working at height.