Before any rope zealot goes over the edge, before even the first anchor is set, the most important step of any rigging job must be taken: The scene size up, or job hazard analysis, depending on your industry. Much has been written and recited regarding the art of the size up, so rather than rehash, I spoke with friend of Rescue Response Gear, and Rigging Lab Academy associate Trask Bradbury, and asked him to take me through the 5 most often missed points:
1. Location and number of the nearest medical facility: A wise man once told me, regarding rope access/rescue, “Be careful! This crap is dangerous!” Not exactly a mind bending revelation, but one that I think about every time I get ready to get on rope. In the event that things go south, knowledge of how to get to advanced life support (ALS) services is key, especially if rescue and transport may fall to you. Post this information in a place where everyone on site can access it.
2. Weather: Exposure to the elements has a huge effect on the success of the rigger’s undertaking. It can affect your timetable, your gear choices, the performance of your systems, communication, you name it.
3. More than one Emergency Contact Number for each technician: If something happens to anyone on the job, that person’s family has the right to know their status. It’s a great idea to have a primary and secondary emergency contact for each rigger on the job.
4. DETAILED Rescue/Back-Up plans: These next two seem like they would go without saying. When putting together your contingencies, leave as little to chance as possible. When “it” hits the fan, you want as few accessory concerns to have to address as possible. Be thorough, and be safe. Consider ingress and egress, access, rescue and positioning issues, environmental concerns, exit routes, the whole nine yards. Put in the work on the front end so you avoid catastrophe on the back end!
5. Proper Communication System: Lastly, and certainly not least, communication is always a huge issue. Consider the scope of the job and the possible hindrances associated with it. Echoes can play a huge issue in industrial and confined space, wind and environment effects can make things tricky outdoors. As always, err on the side of caution, and take every step possible to ensure the success of the job.
Some of the things we covered may seem like no-brainers, but, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Take time to line things up correctly, and to rule out as much risk as possible. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and the job will be done safely, which is the most important objective.
Peace on your days!
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