Safe@Heights are leaders in the design, installation and certification of vertical line ladders.
We also custom fabricate angled ladders, step type and stairs. All our designs comply with AS1657:2018 and are installed by our very own highly trained installers.
We also have available induction and training videos on how to safely use vertical line fall arrest systems including how to conduct a rescue. For more information on our range of systems and training packages please contact us.
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Video Induction & Training
How to Safely Use a Vertical Line Ladder
A vertical ladder is considered a physically demanding ladder to climb and exposes the worker to a high risk of a fall. To control this risk, vertical ladders are fitted with a fall arrest cable system. Attachment is via a cable, shuttle and shock absorber. It is vital that you only use the correct type of shuttle and shock absorber as specified by the manufacturer. The shuttle and shock absorber must have a maximum length of 300mm and be in compliance with AS1891.4. This is to ensure that during a fall the person is not permitted to fall further than 600mm before the system engages. When climbing a vertical static line ladder, it is a legal requirement that the worker has been provided training in how to climb the ladder safely. There must also be two workers present at all times, both trained in vertical rescue. Rescue equipment must be at the work site and ready for immediate deployment.
You will need the following equipment to climb this type of ladder safely.
- Full body fall arrest harness
- Climbing helmet
- Shuttle with shock absorber
- Rescue system
- 21kN rated sling
- Twin tail scaffhook lanyard
- Access to first aid assistance
- Ability to contact emergency services
In this demonstration we will be using the Miller Safe Escape rescue device. However you must only use the rescue system that you have been trained in.
Inspecting the ladder
Prior to climbing a vertical line ladder, you must inspect the ladder and associated equipment to ensure the following
- The ladder, cable and shuttle assembly have been inspected and certified within the last 12 months by an accredited person
- The ladder is in good condition and free from any damage
- Your harness, rescue system and associated equipment have all been correctly certified and in good condition
Inspecting your rescue equipment
Attaching the shuttle
Climbing the ladder
- There is an effective rescue plan in place
- The rescue equipment is fit for purpose
- The rescue equipment is at the actual site of the works
- That a trained rescue person is on standby during the works and
- A rescue can be executed in under five minutes
Anyone using a fall arrest system must take into consideration that if they were to fall they will sustain injuries. Even a relatively short fall will exert enormous force through the person’s body. Once the fall has been arrested and the person is suspended in their harness, it is vital that the rescue plan is immediately put into action and the person is safely rescued in under 5 minutes. Every second someone is suspended the risk of them suffering from suspension intolerance increases. Once suspended in an upright position the harness leg straps cause pressure on the leg veins which in turn reduces the amount of blood being returned to the heart and this causes the heart to slow. This may lead to renal failure and eventually death, depending upon the person’s susceptibility to the condition. Other factors such as the injuries they have sustained during the fall, heat and dehydration can increase the risks. After 5 minutes of being suspended the risk of suspension intolerance increases dramatically.
Once a fall has occurred it is vital that you do not panic. If there are other workers close by ask them to contact emergency services. Call to the fallen worker and see if they are conscious. If so, they may be able to reconnect to the ladder and continue their descent. If not, you must immediately commence the rescue. Remember. Only attempt a rescue if you have been properly trained and deemed competent to do so.
As the rescue person, you will already have your harness fitted and your helmet on. Move to the ladder and remove the rescue kit from the bag. Connect the twin tail lanyard to your front D ring. Secure the fall arrest sling and connect the rescue kit to the same side of your harness as the cable, which is the right hand side. Remove the rope from the rescue bag to allow you to complete the rescue. Move to the ladder, connect both hooks and commence your climb. Ensure that you maintain three points of contact at all times. Continue to move the lanyard hooks one at a time to the highest ladder rung you are able to reach safely. It is important that you keep the lanyard hooks at least one rung above your head at all times. This will limit the distance you are able to fall.
Climb until you can attach approximately five rungs above the fallen worker. This is to allow you sufficient distance to connect the rescue kit and suspend yourself at the optimal level to conduct the rescue. If you are not able to connect this distance above the fallen worker, you will need to shorten your sling and attachment points. Connect your hooks and place the sling around two rungs. Connect the rescue kit to the sling and move your attachment point down far enough so that when the lanyard takes your weight you are positioned three rungs above the worker. It is important that where possible you allow the lanyard hooks to take the majority of your body weight. This will allow you to use both hands and eliminates the risk of you falling.
Connect the rescue system to the workers front D ring and begin to winch them up. You will need to raise them until sufficient weight has been removed from their attachment point to allow disconnection from the ladder cable. As you are winching, have the rescue rope threaded around the rope hook of the rescue device. Keep pulling this tight as the rope is drawn through the device.
Once the weight is off their system, lock off the rescue device by placing the rope around the rope hook and through the rear rope brake.
Disconnect the worker from their system. Release the rope from the brake. The worker will immediately begin to descend. You are able to control their descend sped with the rescue rope. Watch as you lower them and ensure you slow their descent as they reach the ground.
Once they are safely on the ground, very carefully descend the ladder using your double hook lanyard and maintaining three points of contact. If the worker is not conscious, roll them into the recovery position, call emergency services and immediately administer first aid.
Thank you for reading our instructional induction training on how to safely use a vertical line ladder fall arrest system. For further information about our ladders or video induction and training packages please contact us at any time.