In a work site accident, is calling 911 your rescue plan?

Last week, in my article at the Canadian Contractor magazine Construction trench fatality in Toronto: there are NO “accidents”, I talked about the latest fatal event in the Toronto-area construction industry.

What emergency rescue plan do you have right now to save a worker on your job site?

Companies are required to have a written rescue plan, as part of their policies and procedures. By law, everyone, including those on site, needs to know what to do in case of an emergency.

Rescue plans will vary, depending on the scenario. Rescue at high-rise job sites will be much different, obviously, than rescue from a one or two storey building, including a residential building or a renovation work site.

Construction is dynamic, as the environment is in a constant state of change. That’s why rescue plans need constantly updating.

Here are a few areas to consider while putting a plan together:

Will someone see an accident happen?

How will the worker call for help?

Who will the worker call?

Is that emergency call information available to all workers?

How will rescue workers get to the worker?

What rescue equipment is needed?

What if the worker is injured?

How will the public be protected?

How will the accident scene be protected?

It’s about training everyone, including sub-trades about your rescue procedures. Always have the proper rescue equipment available and be prepared to provide first aid and care to the victim(s).

The question is, can you begin to rescue someone within the 15 minute critical zone? Can you provide first aid within 4 minutes? No fall rescue plan can work without proper training.

It is important that everyone on the job site knows who is trained, qualified and can provide effective rescue, before considering calling 911. It is recommended that site safety managers ensure that competent persons and fall protection system users regularly run rescue drills.

Example: In a suspension trauma situation, remember that each second that passes while someone is left suspended in a full body harness is dangerous. Hanging in a harness cuts off the blood supply through the femoral artery, causing the possibility of a blood clot and also the pooling of blood in the legs.

Once this person is (hopefully) rescued, would your instincts tell you to lie them on the ground?

If you did, this can cause the pooled blood to rush back to the heart too quickly, sending the worker into cardiac arrest.

You need to know to know these issues and what to do in case an injury occurs on your job site. Get your policies and procedures in order or updated NOW (read The little black box) and add an emergency rescue plan. If you don’t and someone is hurt on your job site, there will be an investigation afterwards and if you are found guilty of not protecting a worker, the implications for you both legally – and personally – are obviously ugly.

By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Passion – Commitment – CARAHS – Toll free 1 866-366 2930

CARAHS has over 130 online Health & Safety e-courses


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