Silent Hazards for the Wireless Field Worker

I know we talk about hazards all the time, but what about the slow silent hazards? How do we deal with those. I got a message from someone who had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). This is a disease that may not hit you for years. It took Bruce Holsted 3 years to get over it. Three long years of illness. Here is Bruce’s story.

From Bruce:

I’m on the tail end of a 3 year battle with the above referenced illness (RMSF).  I got the disease on a tower job just West of my community in the summer of 2011.

Being in the trade for 25 years, I’m no stranger to ticks, and I’ve pulled hundreds off of my body during that time.  I was not, however, at all ready for the results of the bite of that one particular day.

Mental confusion, arthritis, fibromyalgia, the list goes on and on.  Although the bite happened in the summer, it took a steady decline of health over a period of months before my MD ordered the test for RMSF and made the diagnosis.

That bite damn near cost me by business, and had I not been properly diagnosed, I’m certain it would have cost me my life (as it does in 10% of the cases).  Thankfully, my MD synthesized the symptoms, was somewhat familiar with the disease, and ordered the test.

After my 5th round of antibiotics, and after fighting off 4 or 5 horrible infectious events over the past years, it appears I’m coming out of it.  At least I’ve been able to do my daily walk now, which has been absent during this time.

I’m also the principle moderator of this group, and as you are all aware, I have let things slide since I have been sick.  I’m glad to be back, and hope to get our postings and contributions built back up again this summer.  We still have a good number of members, we just need good information to begin to flow again so everyone gets engaged.  We offer a unique venue for discussion here, with opinions of all being allowed into the conversation, regardless of one’s station in the tower community.

I write this today because I know that many of my brethren in the trade do battle with the ticks on a regular basis.  If you are one of us, then please take time to educate yourself about tick borne illness.  If you do the research, you will find that common insect repellents are not very effective against ticks.  The only really effective defense is Peremethrin.  Available under various trade names at farm supply stores, clothing treated with same is 100% fatal to ticks on contact.

From Wikipedia:  “Permethrin kills ticks on contact with treated clothing. A method of reducing deer tick populations by treating rodent vectors involves stuffing biodegradable cardboard tubes with permethrin-treated cotton. Mice collect the cotton for lining their nests. Permethrin on the cotton instantly kills any immature ticks that are feeding on the mice. It is important to put the tubes where mice will find them, such as in dense, dark brush, or at the base of a log; mice are unlikely to gather cotton from an open lawn.”

I purchase spray bottles of the chemical under its generic name from Amazon to treat my clothing.  I also purchase the concentrate from a farm supply store and keep on the truck along with a sprayer for re-guy jobs, plum and tensions, and anything that will put me in the brush for an extended period of time.  I go in a day early and spray the guy paths and anchors.

I wish you all great success in this, one of the greatest industries in America.


Links and books from Bruce:

Steps to a Conversation of Mind

Sacred Spaces


I’m back, I am coming out with a field workers aid that will help give you a lookup book for the field. I think it may help most of you in your daily activities. I have been swamped at my other job but I plan to release it in about a month. Feel free to reach out to me.

On another note, I am looking for other agencies outside of the USA that handle tower climbing and rigging regulations. Please email me at or get me on Facebook and let me know how you are regulated in Canada, England, Germany, Australia, or anywhere else. The US accidents are awful, as you know, and I would like to see what changes we need to make here. I hear a lot of talk but so far little has changed.




    • Thank you. I often talk to people who worry about all the obvious hazards. They often forget about the other hazards are out there. Many of the people don’t realize that we need to pay attention to all the hazards and keep track of what’s happening to our bodies. If we remember something small like a tick, then it may be important later.


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