Many roofing contractors and roofing workers have a good working knowledge of the main provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) fall-protection regulations under 29 CFR 1926.500-503, commonly known as Subpart M. However, one of the more obscure provisions of Subpart M—and one that receives little attention in worker training sessions or safety program content—is the requirement under 1926.502(d)(20) that "the employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves."
This regulatory provision gives employers the responsibility of worker rescue but does not give any guidance for how rescue should be accomplished. Of further concern, OSHA guidance for the topic in the form of letters of interpretation has not provided much direction.
So what should you do to comply with the standard's demands? Following are methods of job-site rescue you may consider when developing a specific rescue-training program and recent product developments that may be useful.