Working with a risk of falling

The importance of rescue measures have always been accepted and taken very seriously in the more extreme areas of working at heights. Examples include self-assisted methods of working of industrial climbers.

For years, the legal regulations and supplementary employers' and professional liability association's standards have formed the necessary basis for working in areas where there is a risk of falling.

Although these regulations no longer conceal any great surprises, they nevertheless examine certain focal points which are incorrectly all too often not considered to be particularly important.

Examples of this include rescue measures and instruction and training.

The importance of rescue measures have always been accepted and taken very seriously in the more extreme areas of working at heights. Examples include self-assisted methods of working of industrial climbers which place secured access, withdrawal and rescue on an equal level or in areas in which the following applies: Never go anywhere from where you can't return!

However, the main problem is communicating to employees with "everyday" and "basic" risk of falling that the consequences of a fall can be just as serious for them and rescue cannot be taken for granted. Many companies therefore all too frequently relay on the rescue services without checking whether they have the necessary capability or not.

Purchasing a rescue product is not the solution to the problem. Although it is mandatory to have rescue equipment based on the hazard assessment/rescue plan, without appropriate training it won't be much use. The need for instruction and special training can therefore not be exaggerated! However, an increased awareness must also be developed to ensure risks are avoided from the outset. In addition, the work planning must be constantly checked and if necessary adjusted according to the priorities of protective measures (technical, organisational, personal). Instead of simply buying rescue equipment, the necessary qualifications should exist to independently draw up an efficient and simple rescue solution.

Instruction and training are therefore not only important when it comes to the special topic of rescue. All employees who have to deal with fall protection, from the buyer to the user, profit from suitable training courses. For example, it is not sufficient to simply explain to the user how they should properly put on their full-body harness.

Frequently, not all those involved have the necessary knowledge to fulfil their individual responsibility. Emphasis is willingly placed on complex technical courses, while the "beginners courses" for anyone are neglected or are half-hearted.

Sascha Busch, expert for fall protection and fall arrest technology at Evers GmbH in Oberhausen, urgently advises the following points be noted and followed when choosing training measures and rescue equipment:

  • Training and products must be adapted to the respective needs. Just as it is not possible to teach all knowledge regarding fall protection in one course, there is also not a single rescue device which can be used in every situation.

  • The supplier provide comprehensive information about the product or training. If not, how is a safe, reliable decision supposed to be made? Training curricula, application videos or references can make the decision easier.

  • Advantages and disadvantages should be discussed and weighed up with the participants. If possible the decision should be made together.

It is important to obtain a "tailor-made" solution for individual requirements and need so that a fall does not become serious.

Evers GmbH ( offers a comprehensive range of fall protection products produced under the SpanSet brand and a modular seminar programme, which is designed so that the participants receive all information necessary for them to be able to work safely and efficiently in areas with a risk of falling. The seminar contents are communicated as theory and, depending on the module, practically too on the seven metre high climbing tower in the Oberhausen training centre. The special in-house training courses on the customer's premises are particularly efficient: in these the trainers develop a training concept tailored to the individual main areas of work.

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Sascha Busch

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