Working at Heights in Mining: Why You Need a High Angle Rescue Team

Working at heights is any situation where a worker could fall to a lower level than the one they are standing or sitting on. Heights of above 1.8m are considered fatal heights, while heights lower than 1.8 are considered injury danger zones.

There are different safety requirements for these two categories of heights, but in both instances, falls can cause severe injuries that should be attended to right away. Falls from lower heights can usually be attended by regular response personnel, however rescues from larger heights might require a specialized high angle rescue team.

Here are some common working at heights situations.

1. Falls from equipment

Operating and maintaining the large equipment that’s required in mining, such as trucks, presents a height hazard. Not only can falls happen while working at the height, falls can also happen when employees are on the way up, or coming down from the equipment.

2. Falls from lift devices

Lift devices are a huge improvement over working from ladders, which can be unstable or easily nudged. However, lift devices still offer a height danger.

3. Falls in shafts

Falls in shafts are one of the most hazardous types of falls. In addition to the injury that results from the fall, the emergency response or rescue process can take longer. When workers fall from equipment or lift devices, they’re usually falling from a height to ground level. Falls in shafts can require the response team to go through confined spaces and to treat and lift the worker from their location. This requires specialized equipment and training that may not be required when attending to a working at ground level.

How High Angle Rescue Helps

In many of the above situations, barriers that prevent falls and fall arrests such as harnesses are required to be in place by law to protect workers. However, incidents can still occur due to equipment failure, human error by the worker, or a mistake by the company overseeing the construction project.

If many of your mining workers will be working at significant heights, especially if it’s in or near a confined space such as in or near shafts, having a standby high angle rope rescue team is a good risk management decision. In the unlikely event of an incident, whether where a worker has fallen from a height, is below surface and needs to be lifted up, or is at a height and needs to be lowered down, you will ensure your worker is attended to faster.

For more information on safety planning for your oil, gas and mining sites, contact us at jhull@protocolrescue.com or (780) 819-8027.