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Bucket Rescue for Electrical Workers

Every year, 26 people die in accidents involving aerial lifts.

Knowing the proper procedures for a bucket rescue can save electrical workers’ lives.

When two people are working in a double bucket and one of them gets hurt, the second person in the bucket becomes the rescuer and must take charge of the situation.

If both workers in the double bucket are injured, or one worker is in the bucket, the ground worker is the rescuer and must take charge

The “Bucket Tilt” Procedure is the quickest and safest rescue method, and should be used whenever possible. Even when a truck is grounded, it can still carry a lethal amperage that will result in touch or step potential.  A ground worker must be trained to make sure the truck has not come into contact with the line and is energized before approaching or touching the truck. After verifying the truck is not energized, the ground worker should go to the radio and call for help.

After radioing for help, go to the lower controls and use them to lower the victim, or victims. Move the bucket down, steering clear of any hazards. If there are obstructions such as tree limbs or wires, they could slow you down. Do not hesitate to cut them.

Rescuing The Victim:

  1. If the bucket will tilt, raise it about 6 inches so that it can be tilted
  2. Pull the tilt-locking pin and use the handle to tilt the bucket
  3. When lifting the victim out of the bucket, make sure that he is facing up so the worker’s knees will bend as you pull him out of the bucket
  4. Once the victim is out of the bucket, check for response
  5. If there is no response, start CPR and continue until help arrives

If your co-worker in the bucket must be rescued, the first thing to do is radio or call for help.

Now, use the emergency override boom controls. You need to push the bypass button or reposition a control handle to control the bucket from the ground. Check the area for hazards and carefully lower the bucket to the catwalk.

The boom must end up perpendicular to the ground with the rescue block pack above the victim. Pull the release ring or lanyard on the rescue pack. This will release the rescue blocks and the fall line. Extend the blocks down to the victim, release safety lanyard, and attach the hook of the blocks to the D ring of the harness. Move the bucket away from the catwalk about 5 to 6 feet.

Now use the fall line to pull the victim out of the bucket. The angle created between rescue blocks and the bucket allows the victim to swing clear from the bucket. Once the victim clears the bucket, carefully lower him to the ground.

Until next time, stay positive and stay safe.