Abseiling and rescue devices in accordance with EN 341 / EN1496 are indispensable components of the PPEgA or the rescue plan in the commercial-technical sector.
A well-known rule is that the use of PPE must be carried out by at least two persons and a rescue concept must be included in the risk assessment considerations.
Pure abseiling or evacuation devices are often found on site at high-altitude workplaces such as wind turbines or transmission towers, enabling the abseiling of one or several persons at the same time.
The abseiling process is automatic and is set to a speed of 0.8m/second.
Many of these abseiling devices are configurable; they can accommodate various rope lengths and large abseiling heights, as well as the use of one or more persons. The abseiling speed can sometimes be adjusted to specific customer wishes at the factory.
If the abseiling and rescue device is intended for work involving rescue from a fall-arresting system, from a climb protection ladder, or over the edge of a roof, a lifting function should be integrated into the abseiling and rescue device to relieve the system in which the person to be rescued is hanging.
The lifting function can be achieved using a hand wheel, ratchet, or pulley system.
An important selection criterion is simple handling, robust construction, and easy inspection of components.
A combination of work, rescue, and abseiling device is now available on the market. Approved according to EN 341:2001 (abseiling device) EN 1496 (rescue device) as well as Machine Directive 2006/42/EG.
With this, work at height can be performed, given appropriate training and instruction as well as a secondary, redundant safety system. The user can abseil themselves or be abseiled, stop in the working position, and then abseil to the ground or ascend back up. This can be aided with a power drill.
The abseiling and rescue devices can be installed on defined anchorage points with appropriate load-bearing capacity, with the help of slings on construction parts, ladder brackets, or directly on tripods. The option to attach the device to a harness and secure the rope at the anchorage point is useful when used as a rescue or evacuation device, as this allows the speed during the abseiling process to be manually braked.
In any case, the safe handling of these devices must be ensured through at least annual instruction. During initial and refresher training on the use and rescue from PPE against falls, the handling of abseiling and rescue devices is an essential component.