Lots of folks out there are finding they need to put together a post fall rescue program. But wouldn't it be easier if a fallen worker could simply rescue themselves? How much time and manpower could be saved, not to mention allowing the fallen worker to avoid the discomfort and possible long term health effects of suspension trauma. Now there is a product called the Latchways Personal Rescue Device (PRD) does just that.
Rescuing a worker after they have experienced a fall is often a drawn out affair. First trained employees need to assemble rescue equipment and get themselves into place. Workers can sometimes be left dangling for long periods of time. The Latchways PRD (soon available on PK Safety) is a combination safety harness and rescue system that significantly reduces rescue time. This self-activated device improves worker safety by always being available.
Like a harness with a backpack, the Latchways system is incredibly lightweight, but also rugged enough to handle the harshest work settings. In the event of a fall, the user is suspended as with a regular harness. However, once the ground below is checked, the worker is able to access a handle similar to a parachute ripcord that initiates a controlled descent using a 65 ft. spool of Aramid rope. Once deployed, the worker is smoothly and gently lowered to the ground. To see a video of the product in use click here: Latchways PRD.
The total weight of the unit is only 7.9 lbs. and requires only minimum initial training and no annual refresher training. Compare that to the hours of practice and loads of equipment required for rope access rescue work. The instructions for use are incredibly simple. Simply check the ground below to make sure a clear path and safe landing are possible. Next open the flap on the right shoulder strap to access the release cord. Pull sharply on the cord. As you descend, bend your knees to prepare for landing. The Latchways system lowers the suspended worker between 1.6 and 6.6 ft. per second depending upon their weight.
We like this solution and think it likely that other safety equipment companies will follow suit in the future. The Latchways PRD range of 65 feet will certainly cover a wide range of rescue scenarios and the unit conforms to the strict ANSI Z359.4 standards for a descender device.
If you've ever used a Latchways PRD, or you have questions, please send us a note. Or you can contact us online at pksafety.com or call us Monday - Friday 7:00am-5:00pm PST at 1-800-829-9580.