Have you thought about what would be required if the lift or operator become incapacitated or otherwise require rescue, evacuation or extrication? Tree care companies and their crews that use lifts regularly should learn and train in the subject of aerial lift rescue. Use these five safety tips to get started:

  1. This type of rescue can be broken down into two types: evacuation or self-rescue and extrication.
  2. Evacuation is when the operator is unhurt or mildly injured, but the lift is not functioning, leaving the operator to get back to ground level safely without the use of the lift. Rescue/extrication operations occur when an operator is unconscious or otherwise unable to operate the lift, and fellow crew members must return the operator to ground level and extricate him from the bucket for medical treatment.
  3. Operators who don’t use the appropriate safety equipment, such as five-point/ full-body harnesses and accompanying fall-arrest lanyards, will not need evacuation or extrication, as they will be moving at a fairly good clip when they impact the ground, although advanced first aid skills will most likely be required.
  4. Fall-prevention/restraint or fall-arrest systems are not only required by the applicable standards while operating an aerial lift, but also will help prevent the lift operator from becoming intimately familiar with how quickly the human body can descend through thin air, along with how suddenly it can stop upon reaching the ground.
  5. While simple body belts and short fall prevention lanyards certainly meet the standards in some states, they also make aerial lift evacuation very difficult and lead to high pain levels if not serious injuries in the event of being thrown from the lift. The additional protection and support of a full-body harness and fall-arrest system is money well-invested.

Read more: Evacuation Preparation