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by the NFCC

Control measure

Situational awareness: Work at height

Control measure knowledge

At incidents that involve working at height there may be instances where the incident commander cannot observe all areas of the incident and may not initially have enough information to maintain situational awareness. It is essential for the incident commander to gather this information, so they can understand and interpret the situation and anticipate what is likely to happen next.

Specifically, for incidents involving work at height, additional sources for information gathering should be considered, including:

  • Information gathered by personnel at the scene of operations
  • Information gathered by personnel remote from the scene of operations, such as in adjacent buildings or structures

In some circumstances, the outcome of a risk assessment may be to adopt defensive tactics until advice or assistance can be obtained from an appropriate tactical adviser or specialist rescue team. Refer to Specialist resources: Work at height.

Personnel should not be deployed if they have medical conditions or are taking medication that could adversely affect them working at height. Personnel working at height should be monitored for any physical impacts that are a result of this activity.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Be aware of any medical conditions or medication of personnel, that makes it unsafe for them to work at height

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Assign and brief personnel to carry out reconnaissance if support is needed to inform situational awareness

  • Consider adopting defensive tactics until specialist advice or assistance is obtained for work at height

  • Be aware of any personnel who should not be deployed to work at height, due to medical conditions or medication

  • Monitor personnel for signs of stress, anxiety, vertigo or dizziness while working at height