Control measure knowledge

Using rope-based systems for access and rescue gives additional flexibility in certain operational environments but the same systems can be vulnerable to damage or failure. This can lead to catastrophic failure.

Poor selection of, or damage to, anchor systems, poor stowage/maintenance, incorrect system selection or operator errors can put personnel and casualties in danger. Using secondary systems to back up any possible system failure is therefore recommended and should be implemented wherever possible.

Redundancy should be built in to rope access and rope rescue systems, to act as a backup in case of failure. This can be done in many ways, but the most usual is to use a two-line system that starts at the anchors and works through the whole system to the operator and casualty.

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Implement predetermined procedures and emergency arrangements at incidents involving working at height

  • Use only personnel trained in the equipment and systems to advise or supervise work at height operations
  • Ensure that work at height operating systems include an appropriate degree of redundancy