At height workers, whether they are working solo or as part of a team, must be supplied not only with proper fall protection, but also a plan for rescue. If you or a co-worker fall and aren't able to conveniently self-rescue, what is your plan?
Typically workers wearing self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) are generally stopped quicker and closer to the spot they fell from than workers wearing traditional shock-absorbing lanyards. The second group, when they fall, often are stopped relatively softly, but well below the spot they fell from. This is of course completely ignoring the class of climbers so often spotted around town wearing shock-absorbing lanyards when they are only 10 feet off the ground. Those workers will likely be having a decidedly non-soft landing. That's a little fall safety humor for those of you who have read this far. The fall clearance of a 6 ft. lanyard being 18.5 feet...oh nevermind.
A distinction needs to be made here about regular self-rescue and personal rescue because of the new Latchways Personal Rescue Device Harness which makes self-rescue possible even if you are not within reach of your original work platform. It slowly lowers a fallen worker to the ground - up to 65 ft. - by releasing the built-in spool of high-strength rescue line. We like to think of Latchways as a cautious Spiderman device.
For workers dangling at the end of their lanyard without one of these Latchways devices, a rescue plan is often a complicated affair involving highly trained rope rescue personnel who are either a) very nervous about their first real rescue situation, or b) really stoked rope rescue junkies (generally part of an outside company that specialized in rope rescue) who are entirely too excited about using their big bag of rope access equipment.
While the Latchways PRD isn't going to work in every situation, it does provide self-rescue options in many of them. It also provides another option for your rescue plan.
If you have questions about the Latchways harness, please give us a ring at 800-829-9580 or visit us online at pksafety.com.