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Harnesses in excavations

ady 8 months ago   Reply
Good afternoon Always believed that a company would need to supply a suitable sufficient and adequate rescue plan for getting a casualty out of an excavation. Harness and hoist seems to fit the bill and a stretcher if possible but is this HSE guidance or company policy. Not getting into a discussion over depth, yet, but wondered where to get the best information and advice please
Frank 8 months ago   Reply

Hi Ady 

This is often asked of me for work at height, if we go back to basics and ask the question, do we need to extricate the casualty? this will depend on a host of reasons, imminent danger, environment getting worse, etc. You understand that you cannot rely on emergency services as your main rescue plan but, on site you will have first aiders who are not trained to remove casualties in difficult circumstances. The rule life over limb would apply if the situation was dire. The first aiders job is to protect the patient and prevent the situation getting worse where ever possible. The emergency services are usually best placed to remove the patient if you can wait and control the scene until they arrive. Excavations are tricky because they can change very rapidly so be sure that first aiders are suitably trained and practiced at removing patients using whatever equipment is deemed necessary, In your rescue plan you must consider the likely injury be it a broken bone or unconscious through asphyxia or heat exhaustion for example. With a severe injury fracture or internal injury the last thing you need is to drag someone like a rag doll. So to answer your question I'm afraid its the usual risk assessment approach as the HSE will confirm.  

Bill Sowerbutts 8 months ago   Reply
Ady – not enough info – sorry eg is excavation deep/shallow? Gas possibility? I mean if its relatively shallow and access is easy, then a simple fixed ladder would do. There’s a lot of possibilities – “suitable and sufficient” may sound like a cop-out but it is a case of risk assessing the location before you decide what fits the bill.
eddscott 7 months ago   Reply
If the area you are working has one of the specific risks in confined spaces regs - then that needs to be considered. Both this Reg and WAH reg both require emergency arrangements to be put in place. Not knowing the work you are doing limits the response, can you safely use the harness, can you lift a person out of the area without putting others in harms way, can a person be treated in that location? etc.