Fall Protection

D - Descent and Rescue

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Employers must have a rescue plan that either provides the prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or ensures that employees are able to rescue themselves. Executing this plan may require the use of a rescue system designed for the application.

What kind of descent and rescue system do I need?
  • Rescue and Descent Devices

    These devices include ascenders and descenders that help get workers who are experiencing a problem back to a lower level safely, either by themselves or through the assistance of rescue personnel.

  • Confined Space Entry and Retrieval

    When entering a confined space, whether vertical or horizontal, special equipment can be used to aid in rescue and recovery. This is especially important in tight quarters where reaching a worker may be a challenge.

Rescue and Descent

Considerations when choosing rescue and descent systems

In addition to technical considerations, consider the amount of training required to use a piece of of safety equipment properly and effectively. In general, automatic type descent devices require much less training than user controlled systems, but also are less adaptable to multiple tasks. Consider whether the device needs to be intuitive and instantly useable by anyone, or if specific personnel need to be trained at rescue tasks for the jobsite.

  • Worker suspended from controlled descent device
    Automatic, user or co-worker controlled descent

    Automatic evacuation and emergency escape devices require the least amount of training and knowledge by the user. Some systems allow the user to control their own descent or allow a co-worker to control the descent for added flexibility. A single rescue system may not fit every scenario, some systems are easy to use for one application, while others require more skill but can be adapted for use in multiple situations.

  • Worker rescuing co-worker at height with controlled ascent device
    User or co-worker controlled ascent

    In addition to descent capabilities, some rescue systems also incorporate the ability to raise the user or victim. This function is often needed in scenarios where a worker must be rescued by another worker, typically called "pick-offs." The rescuer descends to the fallen victim, connects to the victim's system and then raises the victim slightly to enable disconnection of the victim's fall arrest system, before descending with the victim to the lower level to complete the rescue.

  • Worker suspended at end of long cable from wind turbine
    Maximum height of operation

    Close attention must be given to selecting the system that can accommodate the height of rescue or descent needed. Systems typically have a maximum usable height based on design and performance. Also consider the overall size and weight of your complete system, and the type and style of lifeline.

  • Two rescue workers and injured worker in a litter suspended from rescue device
    Maximum number of users

    Systems can typically accommodate either one or two users (at the same time). This becomes extremely important if the system needs to be used for evacuation, or if it must be used for rescue of an unconscious worker. If rescuing a co-worker in a "pick-off" type application, the system must be able to support both the rescuer and the victim.

  • Rollgliss™ R520

    A quick, efficient means of evacuation from various elevated work surfaces, featuring automatic, hands-free, controlled descent for ease of use, increased safety and minimized training.

    Rollgliss™ R550

    Offers the choice of controlled descent rescue, evacuation or the versatility of assisted rescue with lifting capabilities.

    Rollgliss™ R350

    Provides efficient hauling, but more importantly, very controlled lowering (a finger and thumb are all that is required to hold a load). This system also allows you to change the hauling ratios on the fly.

    Rollgliss™ RPD

    A safe, simple rescue system with features for raising, lowering and positioning during normal work activities. The RPD unit includes a speed sensing lock for added safety.


    These descent devices will get personnel down safely from high places when quick escape is vital. Either vertical or sloped descent models are available. Ideal for rescuers and rigging.

    Rollgliss™ Rescumatic™

    Provides safe, automatic controlled descent from overhead cranes, towers, buildings or other heights. The system safely lowers the endangered worker, or workers, at a controlled rate.

    Rollgliss™ Fisk™

    A simple, effective descent control system designed for durability, thermal capacity and smooth flow. During descent, the operators can tie off the system and position themselves at a specific work level.

    Rollgliss™ R250

    This pole rescue kit enables the rescuer to remove a person from danger. Kit is easily transported in backpack type bags and takes only a few minutes to set up.

    Sealed Tension Limiter™

    Connects in line between a suspended worker and a winch line. If the worker becomes entangled, the system deploys, limiting loads on the worker and a bright yellow cable cues the crane operator to stop.


    High strength and corrosion-resistant escape device that’s simple to operate.

Confined Space Entry and Retrieval

How to decide what confined space equipment you need

Confined spaces vary in size and shape and your confined space system must be adjustable and adaptable. Pay close attention to the maximum and minimum hole size and shape that you need to access, and choose a system that can be flexible.

  • Worker operating horizontal confined space entry device at opening in side of large tank
    Vertical or horizontal entry

    If entering spaces such as a manhole on a street, a vertical system is needed. Some spaces require entry from the side such as a tank, and for these you'll need a side-entry or horizontal type system.

  • Rescue workers operating vertical confined space davit
    Versatility and adaptability

    One-piece tripods are extremely easy to use and set-up and fit a variety of applications. Multi-piece davit systems may be a bit more complex, but also offer more versatility with various arm sizes, and base options.

  • Workers demonstrating portable confined space retrieval tripod
    Portable or permanent system

    Temporary jobs require lightweight and easy-to-use portable confined space systems that can be moved from one location to another. If a hazardous work area is accessed often, such as a vat or tank, a davit system with a permanently mounted base would be best.

  • Close up of mechainical lifeline winch
    Mechanical systems

    Lifeline type and length are just a few of the options to consider. Typical mechanical devices include man-rated winches and 3-way self-retracting lifelines with both fall protection and emergency rescue winch capabilities. In some situations, a back-up system may be required.

  • Workers operating winch on vertical retrieval davit

    Your systems must provide you with the ability to handle a crisis simply, efficiently and immediately. During an emergency, time is of the essence. Choose our high quality systems to ensure optimal performance when it is needed the most.

  • Vertical davit installed at railing of suspension bridge

    Your system must be rated for your application, such as fall arrest, rescue, man-riding or material handling. Choose one that maximizes strength and minimizes weight. Versatility in this area is often a high priority so your system can accommodate different scenarios that may come up today and tomorrow.

  • Ladder system installed in vertical confined space access port

    All system components must be made from quality materials strong enough to endure rough handling and exposure to the elements. Powder coated and anodized aluminum construction offers durability and reduces overall weight for added ease-of-use.

  • Davit arm systems

    Preconfigured davit systems are designed for flexibility and can be used for a wide variety of confined space entry/retrieval applications.

    Davit and base components

    Customize your own system with a variety of davit masts, extensions and bases to suit your specific application.

    Tripod systems

    These systems are ideal for standard manhole type confined space entry applications and are extremely easy to set-up, use and relocate.


    The mechanical device is one of the most critical parts of the rescue system. It provides the means to retrieve an incapacitated worker to safety.

    Fall arrest post/davit systems

    Provides protection and mobility for up to three workers on top of transformers or other types of vertical platforms and has an optional davit for rescue scenarios.

    Pole hoist systems

    Attaches with a carabiner on the universal bracket to a suitable anchor point, allowing you to work in any direction from any angle.

    Side entry systems

    Designed for horizontal entries with vertical positioning or retrieval required inside the space. The system is available in permanent and portable configurations.

    Tank pod systems

    Designed to mount to tank manways with existing hardware for securing hatch covers. It can be fitted with a variety of winches, ladder systems and fall arrest devices.

    Vehicle hitch systems

    Designed to install into a hitch receiver on attendant vehicle and accommodates our offset davit masts.

Learn more about the fundamentals of fall protection

Learn about the ABCs of Fall Protection