Feedback on Drugs, Morons, and Steel

Today I thought I would post some of the feedback comments. Mostly from the Drugs, Morons, and Steel post.

Concerning the incident in Norman, OK. I wanted to say how sad it is that those climbers yesterday got hurt. I hope they are OK. Let’s all pray that they will be OK. They all were working together to make it home and hopefully they will be with their families soon. Read more here.

First off, I had no idea there were so many experts on pot. Second, I had no idea that harder drugs were so rampant in the industry. Third, so many people thought that this article was about everybody in the industry. So I had many different kinds of feedback.

My overview. I was hoping to point out that when something bad happens the first thing that most people will look at is the drug test. If you don’t believe this, maybe you should wake up. The interesting thing is that most people took this to the extreme and thought I was calling all climbers potheads, which I was not. Some said I should have pointed out that climbers are doing hard drugs like crack and cocaine. I just wanted the tower worker to realize that if something bad happens the first thing that will be looked at will be the drug test when making a final evaluation on what happened. I want people to be conscientious when going to work. Granted there are so many things that could go wrong, why make your bad habits one of them to be blamed whether is had anything to do with it or not. Why risk your reputation or your job?  If you still don’t understand this, then maybe it’s time to move on. Many tower workers I know are outstanding workers and people, it’s a shame that there are a few that make the majority look bad. Trust me, this is a hard job that deserves respect. Hard for more than the physical aspect or the fact you need to know so many different things to be successful. Most travel and are luck to be with their family for more than a weekend. It takes its toll on your personal like. Most climbers are a jack of all trades from steel to electrical to rigging to RF to Telecom and so much more. It’s not an easy job. It’s not just labor. It is a skilled profession. Many others in the industry forget all of that, they just expect it to be done quickly and on time. I believe it is time to start demanding skilled workers. With all of that said, I would bet there are still guys out there that crimp with pliers.


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Let’s start with Steel, some people got back to me about what should be done to help make steel safer. Someone mentioned how dangerous it is to work on lights atop the tower. Here is what they said.

Working on lights on top of masts there is rarely anything to tie off too. It’s excessively difficult to work inside a flash head when the flash head is your only way to hang on. I’ve been climbing 5 years and that’s the only time I get scared for my safety is when I’m at the top and cannot work safely due to lack of points to tie off too

Another comment was about the guy wires and anchor points and that we should inspect them. So here are some pictures of some rusted guy wires someone gave me on Facebook. Comment, “Everybody is forgetting that the guy anchors need to be inspected. If rust is found please dig down to see if it is safe I have had to tie heads to heavy equipment then do repairs (install new anchor) to make tower safe.”


Guy rusted guy anchor rusted



OK, let’s move onto the drugs section. On Facebook so many people mentions the drugs section. Some of them mentioned that I should not bring this up because it is only a small amount of climber, which I believe. Then others brought up about the heavy drug use in the industry. I had no idea that crack and cocaine were so common. Most of the information I got back was about the time that THC stays in your system. I just have what is on the websites. That is why I put 3 sites up there to use as references.

Here is a great response, “I see you forgot to mention that THC metabolites can stay in your system for up to 90 days.  So if I smoked legally on vacation in Colorado or Washington last month and get drug tested at work, I would fail and lose my job. Even though I was more aware and alert (being sober) than the other workers who are on prescription drugs with a huge list of side effects. Or what about the guy who smokes meth or crack? That crap is out of your system in 1-2 days.  They would pass the drug test. If you want to test do an impairment test.” If you wrote this, all I ask is that you send me a link or a book to back it up. I honestly have no idea.

Another powerful comment, “I’d just like to say that weed is probably the smallest problem when it comes to climbers doing drugs. It’s just the one that stays detectable in your system the longest. There are much bigger problems with heroin, crack, coke, meth and the most widespread issue drug, alcohol. I would rather climb with a pot head than a drunk any day of the week.
Weed is addressed all the time in terms of safety while alcohol seems to be forgotten about. Someone who is hung over is much more likely to cause an accident that a pot head but they’ll pass a drug test almost every time.
It’s time that as an industry, we start looking towards the individual who is actually responsible for the incident rather than the one crew member who smoked some dope three weeks prior. We should be using drug tests to see who is more of a risk instead of using them to place blame after an incident
.” This response makes some great points! However, if something goes wrong they will look at the blood work to see what they can find. It will become a legal issue, like it or not.

A note about drug testing from LinkedIn,All safety sensitive positions should be mandatory drug tested. Blaming the pot head gets you nowhere. Start at the top (I know, shocking). When you do not implement proper procedures to manage your “safety sensitive” employees, you will have people do things on their own time that will no doubt have an effect on others. Legally you cannot test someone under federal law if they are employed and you have probable cause to test. It must be corporate policy. Only corporate policy can mandate when a random test can take place. It’s expensive and today, employers are gambling with everyone by not following their own policies. It’s not the pothead or the moron……it’s the CEO, not running the company.” I hear that drug testing is becoming more and more common.

One thing, I am told that drug tests are not always accurate. Sometimes they give a false positive. Make sure if you test positive and your company’s policy allows, you see the test results. If you did not do anything illegal and you test positive, then speak up or volunteer to be tested on a regular basis. There was a scam, I was told, going around where companies would ID employees as testing positive to fire them to cut headcount. This is a rumor but it would not surprise me. I try to be fair, I know if something bad happened then the drug testing might be blood to be more accurate. It would not be a swab, urine or blood. I just wanted to bring this up to be fair.

Feedback! Feedback! Feedback!

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