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How Many Steps Are There For Pole-Top Rescue?
There are four steps to a pole-top rescue. Each one ensures the safety of the rescuer and the victim while the rescue is being carried out. They are to analyze the situation, utilize protective equipment, determine the condition of the victim, and lower the victim to the ground.
In the sections that follow, we’ll go into depth about each phase as though you were the rescuer and explain how it affects how the rescue turns out.
Analyze the Situation
You should call out to the victim and wait for their response. Give them time to respond if they are able, so do not rush this step. The next steps in a rescue can then be taken if there is no response. Nevertheless, timing could be crucial in resuscitating the victim, so don’t waste too much time.
Examine the rest of the situation. Check to see whether the pole itself has any deformities or hazards that may have caused the victim to become unresponsive. The rescue will require different steps if the victim is connected with an energized line than if he is not.
Use Protective Equipment
If you have the required PPE, you can safely perform a rescue even if the lines are still energized. Nevertheless, your safety should always come first and be your first priority. If you become the second victim there will be no rescue and a potential loss of two lives.
Determine the Victim’s Condition
A pole-top rescue is a four step process that focuses on keeping both the rescuer and the victim as safe as possible during the rescue. These four steps are:
Never climb with any tools or other items in your hand. This may make climbing challenging and slow, and you run the danger of losing your equipment. Additionally, you should never rely on guy wires, crossarms, or pins as supports while ascending the pole
When you get to the victim, use the appropriate protective equipment to remove them from any energized connections. It is always best to be cautious and safeguard yourself against potential electrical shock, regardless of whether the wires are active or not.
Once they are cleared of hazards, perform a quick evaluation of their condition. If they are conscious, time may not be a critical factor. Provide them with any necessary first aid first before attempting to lower them. In cases of unconscious victims, time is critical. Your first priority is getting them to the ground as quickly as possible. This must be done before CPR and first aid can be administered.
Lowering the Victim
During this stage of the rescue, the victim’s life hinges on your abilities. Any slack in the rope that is connected to the victim should be minimized. As you lower the victim gradually, use one hand to regulate his ascent down the rope. If there are any lower obstacles or dangers, use your other hand to direct the victim through them.
How Does Pole-Top Rescue Training Impact Employee Safety?
Many different factors contribute to the need for pole-top rescues. It is always important to remember that time is of the essence. If the victim is left on the pole for a longer period of time, their chances of surviving decrease. Consider how a well-practiced pole-top rescue procedure saved this man’s life:
Jesse was an apprentice lineman and was working on a power pole connecting a fallen electrical wire with his foreman. He was in charge of putting a line guard on an aluminum wire before putting it into the insulator. Jesse was trying to pull the wire towards himself but the angle of the wire kept him from being able to pull it out of place. He repositioned himself and began to pull again. Suddenly the wire gave way and popped up and went over the top of the pole and his head. He did not let go of it quick enough and the wire tried to take his left arm with it, causing it to dislocate. Jesse’s foreman had to perform a pole-top rescue and helped Jesse descend the pole. He was taken to the hospital where doctors put his shoulder back into place.
If Jesse’s foreman didn’t know how to properly execute a pole-top rescue, Jesse would have been stranded on top of the pole with no way down. He could have been electrocuted or he could have fallen while he waited for someone to rescue him.
Who Is Required To Have Pole Top Rescue Training?
Anyone who will be working close to exposed, energized electrical components or equipment on a pole is advised by OSHA to get proper training in completing a pole-top rescue. In doing so, it will be made sure that there is always someone available who can safely perform the rescue, regardless of who is in need of help or who is available. According to OSHA regulations, every linesman team must undergo an annual pole-top rescue training exercise.
In some circumstances, an individual in an aerial basket device can become injured or unresponsive and in need of CPR or first assistance. Being in an aerial basket makes it challenging to assist the victim properly because they need to be on a stable, flat surface. Your primary goal is to lower them to the ground as soon as you can while keeping them safe.
Dump Feature: Aerial Lift Rescue
In many aerial devices, the bucket can be detached from the boom with the use of a dump feature, allowing the victim to be more easily removed from the bucket.
The features of your aerial lift will vary by manufacturer, so familiarize yourself with this feature and test it frequently to ensure it is working properly.
If the bucket doesn’t have a dump feature, lower it as close to the ground as you can before asking a colleague to assist you in removing the victim from the basket. First aid or CPR can be administered after the subject has been removed from the basket.
OSHA has so far not established guidelines regarding pole-top rescues. However, they do mandate that companies adhere to a few more general rescue guidelines when creating their pole-top rescue plan and providing employee safety training.
For instance, it is required that all rescue-related equipment be made accessible to workers before their ascent of the pole. Employee training and familiarity with all safety-related practices and procedures relevant to their job duties, including pole-top rescue, are additional requirements laid out by OSHA.
Pole-Top Rescue Plan & Management
There are no set guidelines for pole-top rescue because of the special circumstances involved in such operations and the potential for situational factors to change with each rescue. Instead, employers should create their own systems and protocols. OSHA advises employers to use The Lineman’s and Cableman’s Handbook while creating their rescue strategy. Check out our own Pole Top Rescue training course to use as part of your program.
For more information check out our related article What Is A Pole Top Rescue?