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Tower Tracker Pro

FYI: New show on Discovery channel! Hang Men http://goo.gl/kvI706. Friday, March 14th, at 11:00PM ET, watch it or set your DVR. I hope it makes the industry look good. Remember to keep your good habits! 

I am going to make some suggestions to the industry. I am looking for a team effort here. I think a safety architect would look at this end to end. This probably won’t be popular so if you agree or disagree with this let me know but I want you to read it and think about it. This would be a commitment where we would all have to do  our part. You can get back to me in the comments section, on Facebook.

1)    The tower structure owners;

  1. Insure there is a safe climb system like climbing safety cables for cable grabs.
  2. Add anchor points to towers where they may be needed to enable climbers to have 100% tie off. http://youtu.be/B7-NGsJkWwo.
  3. Do annual hazard assessments to towers and monopoles and rooftops. Include RF levels in the survey, not just physical hazards. Make available to crews who may climb the site. 
  4. Should inspect and visit sites not only on an annual basis but randomly when they know a crew is working a site to inspect safety practices.
  5. Require every climber on their site to provide training certificates prior to the climb. I think ATC already does this.
  6. Set rules for climbing their towers, like expect to see a minimum of 3 certified climbers doing any installation on their sites. Expect minimum of 2 certified climbers on a maintenance visit. 
  7. Require that the structural be approved prior to hanging anything significant on their tower.
  8. Expect to see the end customer’s SOW or MOP for each of their sites.

2)  The tower climber companies;

  1. Have an apprentice program, (for new climbers), that is well documented to include hours at the site, hours in the air, and training certifications on file. I don’t think we need the 90 day wait, I think we need to expose them to the real work with an experienced crew and let the foreman decide when the greenhorn is ready to go up.
  2. Insure all PPE is inspected daily by climber, weekly or monthly by independent person in company and document all findings.
  3. Have safety program in place with documentation and training defined. Make available to all within the company at any time.
  4. Keep files of all safety paperwork and process and logs
  5. Inspect ropes and blocks weekly or monthly at the least and document inspections.
  6. Safety training in place by Safety One or equivalent.
  7. Update safety training annually by certified trainer. Safety audits should be done regularly. 
  8. Keep a running log of  ea

    ch climber’s hours in the air and driving.

  9. Each foreman/company owner should update these logs weekly.
  10. Company should track and limit hours of climbing and driving for each climber, physical and mental rest should be the key.
  11. This log should be a living document that can be made available anytime to the company.
  12. This could be referenced in case something went wrong to evaluate if other circumstances were at play.
  13. On site notes could be referenced.

3)    Tower climbers;

  1. Keep an individual logbook of all climbing hours and drive hours.
  2. In logbook record obvious hazards on that day at that site.
  3. Record all tailgate meeting notes in log.
  4. Keep all paperwork up to date.
  5. Keep all PPE in good condition.
  6. Stay in shape. Stay healthy. Eat right (advice really, but a good idea).
  7. If on any medication immediately decline to climb and let your supervisor/foreman know immediately. This includes cold medicine or anything that could be over the counter that states, “do not take if operating heavy machinery” on the label.
  8. Be responsible. Don’t drink, smoke pot, or anything illegal while working (or anytime really, you should know better). If you drink an adult beverage, make sure it is after work and that you are not driving. Don’t smoke pot, it stays in your system for a long time and probably will show up in your blood if something bad happens. There is always a drug test when something bad happens. guess who will get the blame if there is even a trace in their system, that guy! Do you want to be that guy

4)    End customer, (carrier, government, utility, or other);

  1. Provide safety expectations in contract. Outline the safety expectations or practices expected at all sites and by all climbers.
  2. Clearly state safety expectations in the Site SOW or MOP.
  3. Require list of accidents over past 3 years for company, evaluate.
  4. Identify climbing certifications required by each contractor/climber working their jobs!
  5. Require that you will expect to pull safety paperwork for each site, like tailgate meetings or hazard assessments upon request.
  6. Require at least 3 (or more) certified and trained climbers on every site that is being done for them.
  7. Be allowed to inspect any site at any time with proper coordination or even unannounced.
  8. Customers or Turf vendors should always put safety ahead of dollars. They should always request the proper paperwork prior to any bid win. 
  9. Set realistic schedules during the project. Talk it over with your field managers to see what is realistic, talk it over with the installation crews to make sure the schedule is realistic. Review your logistics and OEM provider to make sure they have the hardware available when you expect it. Don’t make it the problem of the installer because the OEM or logistics gets delayed.

I will tell you why I suggest the above. Let’s review OSHA Tower Climbing Cases. OK, I thought it might be interesting to look over the OSHA cases. I wanted to do more but this is all I can handle now. Maybe more in the future. If all of the safety processes are in place and there is an accident, we had better be able to identify the cause quickly. It seems like now there is finger-pointing most of the time. OSHA should be able to review the site and the paperwork and put together what happened. I would like to see OSHA to set a goal to properly resolve these cases in less than 3 months. 

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I am pulling these from OSHA at https://www.osha.gov/doc/topics/communicationtower/index.html if you want to follow along.

1)    November 22, 2013, Optica Network Technologies, Wichita, Kansas. A 25-year-old worker performing cell tower maintenance was killed when he fell 50 feet. This case is still open. It started 11/23/2013 and it is still open. OSHA doesn’t say much about this but here is what I found on the web, http://www.wirelessestimator.com/breaking_news.cfm Wireless Estimator says that Douglas Klein was working with a 3 member tiger team when he fell, it was about 5:30PM, late in the day. Douglas worked for PinPoint Towers whose office in Omaha, Ne. He was working for Ericsson on the Sprint Network Vision project. In memoriam Douglas Klein.

2)    August 17, 2013, Custom Tower, LLC, Louise, Mississippi. A worker installing microwave dishes on a cell tower was killed when he fell 125 feet. The worker, who was not using a double lanyard, fell after disconnecting his positioning lanyard to reposition himself. If you go to http://www.tasco-safety.com/news/head-protective-gear/malfunctioning-equipment-leads-to-worker-fatality-in-mississippi/ then you will see the climber was working for Custom Tower, based in Scott, La, was fined over $50K due to the malfunctioning safety apparatus. The kid was 25 years old and doing maintenance. He fell 125’ and died. A preventable tragedy. Installing a microwave dish. OSHA says “Employers must provide a safe and healthful workplace for their workers”. In memoriam Shelton Comrier.

3)    August 12, 2013, Transmit PM LLC, Coats, NC. A worker performing installation services for Sprint under the direction of Alcatel-Lucent died from a fall. If you go to http://www.wirelessestimator.com/breaking_news.cfm/t_content.cfm?pagename=Fall+Protection+Lanyard+Violations you will see that Wireless Estimator reports that John Dailey was working for Transmit PM, LLC of Duxbury, Ma, when he fell. Reports say he was not 100% tied off. No fines issued yet, but the report is still open. He was working on a Tiger team to replace a dish for Alcatel Lucent for the Sprint Network Vision project. He had 25 years of experience in this industry. This happened on a monopole near Coates, NC. He was 49. Monopole owned by SBA communications. In memoriam John Dailey.

References:

http://pcs-california.com/resources/fy14_federal-state_summaries.pdf

http://www.safetyalliance.com/2014/01/05/breaking-news/

http://aoss-research.engin.umich.edu/prophet/CABINEX/tower_safety.html

http://www.wispa.org/news/2014/02/25/learning-the-ropes-of-tower-safety-0

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-tommy-come-home-after-50-fall-from-a-cell-tower/139925

4 thoughts on “Follow my plan and save tower climbers’ lives.

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