Know your SOW and more Feedback

Hello everybody! First off, if you didn’t see there is a warning sent out about a safety climb. Capital Safety put out a press release that their 3/8” 7X19 strand galvanized cable, also known as “Safety Climb System” could have slippage issues. All the more reason to tie off 100% even when using a safety climb. Read the notice, I have the line here. While not a recall it is a warning so read the document so you understand what is going on. Does anyone remember that not long ago there recently was a snap hooks recall?

RIP James Linstedt.

Today I am going to discuss the Scope of Work, SOW, for all of you who just go out and do what you’re told. It would be a great idea for everyone who is at the site the review the SOW. I am working on a book that reviews all of the paperwork that the tower worker will be dealing with.


The SOW will have the outline of the job. It should be put together so that you know what duties are required of you. For instance you will need to know what you are installing. You will be putting in just the equipment on the tower or both the base station and the tower. If you are installing microwave, what is your responsibility? Are you doing the installation and the alignment? What are you doing?

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Where are you working? This should be part of the SOW as a site list. The site list is a separate document that you will be working with but it should be attached to the SOW as an addendum.

What parts do you need? You should have a Bill of Materials, BOM, as an attachment. This is very important because if you pick up the parts at the warehouse and don’t review the BOM, guess who’s fault it is if you miss something. YOU! YOU! YOU! If you miss a part that is on the BOM and you don’t get it, you messed up. Make sure when you hit the staging warehouse you look at the BOM and check off each part you need. If you are doing the install and you need a part that is not on the BOM, guess what, it’s the customers charge and a change order so you can charge for the labor and part to add it. However, if your people put a clause in the SOW that says you will supply miscellaneous parts, then you need to define miscellaneous parts. Why does this matter, because your customer will consider 200’ of #2 copper as miscellaneous and you may have meant zip ties and vapor seal, that’s why! If you’re asking what the difference is, the maybe you should look for a new line of work. Don’t be an airhead!

So, when I put my package together I will explain the SOW and I will give you an example and I will give you audio to talk about it. I should have something out here in the next 2 weeks or so. I am putting together something for all of the paperwork so everyone can get on the same page and understand what to look for and how to write the SOW. I just need to complete it and I will put it out to you guys.

Now, I have 2 feedback statements I want to share.

Feedback on tower owners:

First off, I have to take back what I said about American Tower not inspecting sites annually. I heard back from one of their people and he told me that at a minimum they inspect the towers annually. He knew the FCC lighting regulations inside and out but he said that with or without light, they make it to every tower at least once a year. That is awesome! Think about it, they have over 28,000 towers in the USA according to From what I hear they are on top of site inspections. So if something is wrong at the site, maybe you should let them know.

Feedback on Training:

OK, this is great to hear that someone would send their people to IRATA training to improve safety. Here is the statement, “Hi Wade, we got IRATA certified so we could deal with wide face towers safely.  Now we use roped access on many jobs that don’t strictly speaking require it as it’s a safer alternative to relying on fall arrest and once the ropes are rigged often many more times efficient too :)” This is awesome and it’s nice to see some super responsible people out there! This came from the UK by the way, they go the extra mile!

Feedback on TIRAP:

It appears that a professional climber out there is happy that TIRAP is happening. This man is willing to help create the climbers bible, how cool is that. Here is the statement, “Finally! Now we might even be recognized for the skilled work we do under VERY hazardous conditions on a daily basis.  Now, maybe the green guys will understand that 2 yrs. DOESN’T make you a professional yet. But, give it time and actually LEARN from older and more experienced guys. It’s all in the details. I’d like to collaborate with anyone interested in writing a “climbers bible”. Let me tell you something, when you climb for 10 years you begin to learn something. However, you need to keep a good positive attitude. Here is someone who I am going to reach out to so we can collaborate on putting more information out there.

Just to be fair, I did get plenty of negative feedback saying that the industry does not need to follow TIRAP nor do they need to issue this directive. I am surprised by how many people think this is a bad idea. Someone reminded me that this is a recommendation and it is not a requirement. I look at this as a step in the right direction. I am shocked that so many people see this as a bad thing, what a shame. The industry cries for change and improvement and now that it is being recognized and improved it seems people are angry about change. I get it, there are many good tower crews, safe and without incident, but for every 10 safe crews there’s probably at least one crew that just won’t follow the safety practiced recommended just because it costs too much. OSHA just caught someone who didn’t follow the safe climb rules, Morlan Enterprises got a $52K fine on July of 2014. Go ahead and take chances and see if OSHA cares or if the whistle-blower rules matter. Whistle blower fact sheet here! OSHA is your friend, the FCC is your friend, and they are here to help. While we may not always agree with them, in the end they are really here to make our lives safer and better.

Tell me what you think!

Other notes:

I have been talking to Bridgette Hester who is working diligently to make the Hubble Foundation do as much as possible. She just awarded another scholarship award to Carrie Plants, who lost her husband Daniel Plants back in 2007. This is part of the Widow’s Fund that Gette has created. For all of you climbers out there let us not forget the fallen, they may be gone but they are not forgotten! Let’s all say it together, “Way to go Gette, Way to GO!” She sis so much with passion, just one woman, than most groups could do.

By the way, NATE started the Tower Family Foundation and they already have $400,000, yes, $400K to give out to tower climbers families. I can’t wait to see where the money is going to go, that seems to be the one thing we are waiting for. They can do so much good for all the families we lost in the past 2 years!

Next podcast I interview a SPRAT 3 level trained climbing instructor Todd Horning of Safety One, cool guy and passionate about safety and rope access! His information is here.

2 books!

“Tower Climbing: An Introduction” is for the new tower climber, the green hand, to understand that will be expected.

“Field Worker’s Aid for Tower Work” is a handy aid to help out when you are at the site.

You may expand to other jobs in the industry. This can be the beginning of a great career path in the wireless industry. Whether you decide to keep climbing or find another opportunity, the industry is large and growing!


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