Tower Safety for the tower crew

Feedback from Feedback about Policing the Industry

I had some feedback from my “Feedback on “Will the Tower Industry Police Itself?”

I wanted to get this out because this guy thought I deleted his feedback!


Response: I didn’t, here it is! I put his name in here because I think it’s funny, and I am pretty sure it’s not his real name!

Name: One of the few Intelligent ones
Comment: I will say this. YOU WILL NEVER POLICE THIS INDUSTRY. WHY……In most other industries you must have degrees, training, certs, etc. For example to be an engineer you need degree, certs, etc. To be a manager you need all plus more. See this is the only Industry I know where a person can have dropped out of High School, be working at a 7-eleven on Friday night and that following Monday be a tower climber installing high dollar equipment for major carriers. It is unbelievable.

What I mean is be careful what you ask for. This industry does not have professionals. There are some, but most rant and rave about being underpaid, so dangerous, etc but yet the industry is filled with drinking, pot smoking, not show up for work on time, rough necks who do not know a thing about being a professional. If they were to make qualification a determination for employment most would not make the cut. Urinalysis on a regular basis would weed out another chunk. Punctuality would probably get the rest. The professional powers to be known this and therefore it will never happen because 95% of the work force will not make the cut. You better not police the industry I should say.

Why is this industry so dangerous, I have climbed for over 20 years, had over 300 climbers under my supervision and no accidents or deaths. It is really quite simple. If your Physically tied to an object that is anchored in the ground, it’s physically impossible to fall. Pretty simple I think.

When climbers fall 100% of the time it is climber error. You never hear of equipment failing.

Response: Tell me how you really feel! First off, congratulations on training so many climbers, working with so many, and never losing any, thank you for that! I really mean it, great job! You are correct about most of this, you have those people but you also have some great people that think of this a profession, not a job. I often think of it as very skilled labor. However, I have also met many that fit the description you put in. You also make a great point about tie off, while not all the deaths last year were from tie off problems, there was also rigging failures, heart attacks, and tower collapsing. However, you are correct, there were many that obviously didn’t tie off. We need to drill into everyone’s head that if they don’t tie off they could die.

As for safety gear failures, there have been some this year but I don’t know if anyone’s safety lanyard failed, so you make a great point if you are referring to the safety lanyards!

Go to the IWCE conference and see me! For a discount enter code SPK! Remember that the communications people for public safety and fire departments will be there. Fire departments rescue climbers!

You want to learn about safety? Then listen to me at the “Tower Safety and Regulatory Compliance” panel on March 17th, 2015

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Comment: After 25 years in the business, I still find that one of the biggest problems is drugs on and off the job sit. Another thing that causes us problems is NATE. NATE is like a lot of females. They love to keep something going all the time and I’m a firm believer if something isn’t broke, don’t fix it. My grandfather use to tell me, don’t stir in shit,, it will stink. If NATE would butt out and, leave OSHA alone, we would be better off. All of these company owner’s that claim they are a member of NATE and it is not nothing to be proud of. We have a safety guy in our company that is always talking about safety, safety, safety but, out of the other side of his mouth, he condones smoking pot in the company, on and off the job. It’s BS.

Response: OK, I take it you are not happy with NATE. I do know that NATE is working towards setting realistic safety training requirements in this industry. While they do serve the company owners, they are working to make the industry safer because this is the only way we will grow. Remember that no one wants a climber to get hurt. However, we have different views on how to prevent accidents.Prevention sounds easy, but it takes industry buy in and there are still so many climbers that do not tie off 100%!

OK everyone, this is a long comment, so be patient!

Comment: There are some interesting issues addressed in this forum that I agree with. There are no schools that can duplicate the effectiveness of OJT, however, schools can teach a lot of important points to a green hand. For example, I don’t think schools should teach that workers become totally reliant upon their PPG. I believe they should be taught to be as secure as possible on the tower, without any PPG at all, and the PPG should be considered secondary. Learning where to position yourself to avoid danger has proven to be as much of a deterrent as the PPG. I think a false sense of security is experienced when a worker wraps their lanyard or hooks their hook over a member. This is not a new argument. Years ago after an ironworker fell off the Verrazano Narrows bridge, American Bridge went on strike while pressing the general contractor to put nets under the areas they were working. Management claimed that a net would cause the men to feel a false sense of security and would result in more injuries because of carelessness. Eventually, after a short strike, the contractors capitulated and provided netting under the areas where bridge spans were being installed.
What puzzles me about all this schooling and training is, what are the credentials of the people doing the schooling and  training. Who is teaching the teachers? How many years of experience do they have actually climbing, setting iron, jumping poles, flagging cranes, using the basic tools or even tying knots. How many times have you teachers set up on top of a tower and actually endured the pain from harsh weather so you could finish a job and be home for Christmas? Few of you have ever experienced these circumstances.
The brains of the industry forget that this is a job. A job is where workers are given a task to perform and are paid to get it done in a safe and timely manner. If the works not done, nobody makes a dime. The workers that have the unique ability to get the work done safely need to be adequately compensated for what they contribute, and the “wanna-be’s”, the “professional resume writers and per-diem collectors” and the “PM brother-in-law contractors” need to be eliminated, and this is the job of the project managers and staffing people.
A crew will police itself only after they have worked together for some period of time, but it takes time. Moving boomers in from out-of-state on an “as needed” basis doesn’t give regular workers the time to learn what the boomers know or the tasks where they excel.

Response: Thank you sir, for the honest feedback. People often forget that if they don’t finish, they don’t get paid. If someone gets hurt or dies on a job, the company won’t get paid unless they finish. Most PMs and GCs won’t wait, they will bring another crew in to finish and not pay the first crew a dime. That doesn’t seem fair but that’ how it is. Ask anyone out there, this is the way the wireless business works. The GC can barely wait for OSHA to finish before they have a new crew on site to finish.

Training – I think the trainers play a key role in the process, but the experienced guys probably make more money working than training, just my opinion, unless they like going home every night, which is a huge factor after traveling for years. Most trainers are there to train the climber for a specific task, we rely on OJT training to teach them the job. That’s how invaluable getting trained on the job is, it is invaluable. When you are work with an experience crew you learn so much more than working with all people that never climbed before. However, those crews get pretty creative, but it leave so much to chance. Work experience becomes invaluable, if you are trained properly and know your job! It pays to learn what you can while you can. Learn as much as you can!

Be smart, be safe, pay attention to your task, following your plan but be ready to adapt, improvise, and overcome the obstacles in your way!


March 16th to 20th, 2015

Enter discount code SPK today!

Listen to  iTunes or Stitcher for more commentary! Podcast Download

Create your plan and career path with some products for wireless deployment and the tower workers! Start with the Introduction to Tower Climbing, then get The Field Worker’s Aid for Tower Site Work, then to do the work you need to look at the Scope of Work Training, and finally the Tower Worker’s Logbook to log your high time and drive time and your project responsibilities, go to Learn more about my products! for more information!

Go to the IWCE conference and see me! I will be on the “Tower Safety and Regulatory Compliance” panel on March 17th, 2015. Don’t you need an excuse to go to the Las Vegas convention center. I will share the stage with Cory Crenshaw, Charles Ryan, Dr. Denis Boulais, and Robert Johnson. Our moderator will be J. Sharpe Smith of AGL Magazine. Here is a list of exhibitors that will be there. I will be speaking and I may need some safety gear, email me at so we can talk! Make sure you sign up for this forum running 1:00PM to 4:30PM because let’s face it, these are issues you deal with on every job!If you want to talk after the conference, let me know.

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