OSHA 1926.502(d)(20) states, “The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.”
While this standard addresses the hazard of being suspended by the fall arrest system after an arrested fall, prompt rescue is not defined in the standard. How a rescue occurs to prevent serious injury to the worker is up to the employer. An in-depth analysis of the worksite to consider all potential risk factors associated with rescue is recommended. A written plan should be formulated and distributed to any potentially affected personnel.
Simply relying on emergency services does not constitute an effective plan. This is especially true if high-angle rescue might be required or if there are other structural or environmental factors in place that could affect standard rescue procedures.