OK, here is your chance to send a legitimate complaint out to the world for all to see! This is where the you, the tower technician, the tower climber, the field engineer, the tower worker can exert your knowledge, show some muscle, and become powerful. A database for unsafe towers where you, the person working there, can input your data, thoughts, and facts. Where you ask? Well, I was talking to Vern Fitzgerel, who I met on Facebook, and he put together a form you can fill out by going to http://form.jotform.us/form/42525754737159, This is a form that is asking for details for unsafe towers that you may or may not have refused to climb.Just because you climbed it doesn’t mean it’s safe! This is going to go into a database for unsafe towers that Vern is creating and he will put out on the internet for all to see.. So, this is where the climber, the tower climber, the tower crew, the tower foreman, the lead man, the chief, the project manager, the person who refuses to work on a tower because in their opinion it is deemed “Not Safe”. He will also accept emails at firstname.lastname@example.org but you need to put more information in the email than to send a picture and say “it’s not safe”. You need details and facts. Make sure if you say it’s overloaded you have some proof, or if you are speculating, explain why you think it’s overloaded based on tower type, loading, and previous experience.
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I have seen towers and monopoles that were overloaded based on tower model and load rating and expected ice and wind rating in that region. However, it was all speculation. I have also see towers come down in ice storm that I thought were plenty strong enough. So it helps to have some facts or an educated guess to explain why you think it’s overloaded.
Here is a way that climbers can identify problem towers for other climber, tower owners, OSHA, lawyers, customers, and anyone who maybe we can learn from the front line, the climbers in the field!
First, let’s review what unsafe is. It would be a tower where you would see a hazard that prevents you from climbing the tower because you deem it as dangerous. It could be anything that is a problem. If you think it is overloaded, then maybe you should make sure by requesting the structural report so you can see what the recommended loading it. To look at a tower and say its overloaded is one thing but to see on the structural that it’s overloaded is another. You make see something that is not attached properly or cross members loose or missing, these are all issues. You may see safety issues or other problems.
Why would Vern do this? Because we need to start documenting towers that are unsafe. Many climbers can refuse to climb a tower but the problem may be that they will find another crew to climb it the next day. Many climbers will climb anything where as other climbers may see problems on the tower.
If you refuse to climb, here is your chance to document the tower and why you won’t climb. This is where you, the climber can report problems towers. This is where you can raise your voice to make tower owners aware of issues. Remember, tower companies that own towers may or may not visit their tower regularly. Things get overlooked and lost and forgotten. Well when Vern’s database gets built we can have a reference to look at.
What do you need to do? You need to provide all the information possible. This of what a site list would have on it. You need to provide the details, coordinates, address, type of tower, owner if you know it, and why it is unsafe. If you say that it is overloaded, prove it by referencing the structural or other documentation. If it is not safe, be specific and say why it is unsafe or where on the tower it has issues. If there is a security issue then explain what you mean by that. Be specific in the issue and the location and the site ID if you have it. This way the tower owner can be notified. Maybe they will correct it or maybe not. Perhaps the next crew will not identify the problem or ignore it.
The database should be enough to let all climbers know that where the problem towers are. It will also be a great way to leave a trail in case there is an injury on that tower and it was identified by someone else earlier.
Vern has a Facebook page which shows the link, https://www.facebook.com/unsafetowers, in case it is easier to go there first.
So what would you do with this database? Will you refer to it from time to time? Do you think the tower owners will be held responsible for tower issues? Do you think that it is time we document tower issues in an organized manner. We need to help out any way we can. I think that when you are in the field you may be able to prevent accidents by sharing information. This is your opportunity. This is your chance to save others from a problem you identified.
Let me know, do you think this is a good idea? Do you think you will participate? Let me know. Maybe you just don’t care. Maybe you will climb anything. Maybe you think that if you don’t do it someone else will. Chances are you are correct. Once again, the industry just can’t stand together. Don’t you think it’s time that the climbers start to work together to make the industry a better industry? The FCC and the DOL are beginning to recognize the problems and importance of this industry. Why not do your part out to help out other climbers? Don’t you think it’s time we unite? This is a start.
Wouldn’t it be great if OSHA would be able to look at this to see that there are issues with this tower rather than only having to look at the mistakes the climber may have made? So many times all of the liability is put on the climber because they are the target, they are there, and it’s the only thing they can look at. The more we document and share the better off OSHA will be armed. They need help, let’s do our part. They may or may not listen but maybe we can star to use the tools at our disposal to make deployments safer.
It’s something that turf vendors may run you 100 miles to try to get you to climb a tower that is not safe, so you don’t get paid for the travel time and the turf vendor finds another sucker who will climb it. Is that a common problem? They use that all the time where they will just call someone else and you are out the money but maybe the other crew could be getting pulled into a dangerous situation because they need the money. Now you can document it and then the tower should be labeled unsafe until the tower owner makes some modifications to repair the problem.
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Calculate the load!
Calculate safe load for rigging, sling stress.
Proper use of Shackles.