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Control measure

Release of casualty trapped by machinery

Control measure knowledge

An assessment of the incident should determine the easiest and least intrusive method of releasing a casualty. For example, removing the casualty’s clothing, or using a lubricant for digit or limb entrapment, may suffice to release the casualty.

Medical advice should be considered when developing a rescue plan, to ensure it results in the least amount of further trauma to the casualty.

A casualty with a crush injury should be released following the appropriate stabilisation and treatment by medical responders. For further information refer to Crush injury.

The method to release a casualty will vary and may require the use of rescue tools to cut and spread. If these are required, consideration should be given to their effects on the casualty. There may be resulting movement and associated hazards to emergency responders and the casualty.

For example, the potential energy that is stored in high-tensile steel may release violently, causing instability to the scene or injuring emergency responders or the casualty. Appropriate protection should be used to protect the casualty throughout their release. For further information about personal protective equipment for casualties refer to Personal protective equipment: Rescues

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide appropriate rescue tools for the extrication of casualties

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Select the appropriate rescue tool to release a casualty from machinery

  • Consider the potential release of energy when a material is cut or spread in machinery

  • Use equipment to protect the casualty throughout their release from machinery

  • Consider medical advice when releasing a casualty trapped in machinery