This is feedback from my post “Climber Rescued by the Fire Department”. Don’ forget to listen to the podcast for my opinions!
Before I get into all of this don’t forget to go to the bottom of the post and see the new Hubble Foundation logo, pretty cool! Also, I see workman’s comp is becoming an issue in DC because the DOL put this out, Adding Inequality to Injury, a PDF explaining how injury leads to a serious loss of income and a change in lifestyle. I thought you would like to see it.
Comment: It appears that this is becoming a frequent occurrence–and thank God he was rescued without injury. But Wade, we shouldn’t have to be in the rescue business. If there is a platform on the tower, the workers should be able to work on it,,,not have to hang under it with a 40 pound safety harness restricting your ability to climb back up. Why not lower the platform three feet and mount the antennas on the handrail. This improvement would not only eliminate the need for rescue missions, but it would also place the owner in compliance with the “Provide a Safe Workplace” regulation as required by OSHA.
I lost a friend last year in a hunting accident caused by wearing his safety harness. Evidently he fell out of his tree and was unable to climb back up to get loose,,,and he was a very physical guy. He unbuckled his leg straps hoping to slip out the bottom of the belt but never made it. When they found him, the belt was up around his chest cavity and he probably suffocated.
Response: One thing that we need to know is not only how to use the gear we have, but to make sure that we have the proper gear. What I am saying is make sure your harness fits you properly. Make sure that you are prepared for not only your job, but the rescue if needed. Make sure you know the plan to rescue someone if needed. I know this is easy to do, but as you can see it is very easy not to do. Many crews simply think it won’t happen to them, and many times it doesn’t. But what if it does?
As for mounting the equipment in a way that the climber can access it, I am not sure. There is a preliminary design done and many times the arrays are built on the ground without the forethought of what may happen in the air. So what I would say to the crews is think about the maintenance, think about repair, and think if you had to do it, what would you do. Maybe the installation crew would have prepared to descend and then have someone else remove the gear but the maintenance crew did not think it through, at least not like that. The guy probably thought he could pull himself back up and that just didn’t work out.
I will be speaking at the IWCE conference on March 17th, 2015!
Paying attention to the scope of work?
Comment: I am well aware of situations like this. The company I worked for last winter took in a new ‘class’ (21 started, 12 finished) of men with no previous experience and after 1 week of training and approximately 3 weeks of mentor-ship under guys with somewhere between 3 months and 2 years experience they began dividing us off into crews of two. Which the supposed construction manager asked me to help him with because I was ‘the smart one’
The rest of the guys got to stick with another experienced climber, but I was writing reports by my second week, and pressured into taking over my own truck and crew by week five (no previous experience mind you)!
Anyway, in just a few months I witnessed my partner be blown off the tower (he’s ok–his cable grab worked) because we were told to climb in 25 mph winds with 40mph gusts and — minus 10 air temps. I kept him on the ground for over a week after that–it shook him up. On that same day my other guy had the tip of his index finger ripped off raising a new radio because he couldn’t even feel it (he’s ok now too), but no worker’s comp or paid medical attention. I patched him up myself. And last Christmas Eve we were out in an ice storm at 10 pm in an ice storm trying to complete our fourth site of the day under orders. No code for that gate so we were told to climb the fence! Nobody else was willing so I gave it a try, but by about 80′ the ice was an inch thick and it was getting ridiculous so I came down and we got home for early Christmas morning. A couple of months later my partner ended up with a staph infection in his arm and was too sick to do anything let alone be available for a rescue if I got in trouble yet we were kept in the field and ordered to go out anyway. He laid in the front seat of the truck and tried to keep an occasional eye with the binoculars.
I could go on but you get the point. I never saw a man fall, but we were constantly put in the position to make an already dangerous occupation simply ludicrous–all for $12/hr!
I love climbing and problem solving up there, and as noted above was forced to learn fast, but I am seeking a reputable company that offers a good training program, a little respect for its employees, their families, quality of work, and OSHA/safety standards. If interested I can be reached at 989-449-2413 and/or email@example.com. Thank you.
Heath Jabs MS, PT
Response: Thank you Heath for letting us know what is going on out there. I wish you the best of luck!
Have a good week! Remember to be smart, be safe, and pay attention! Follow the plan but don’t be afraid to adapt, improvise, and overcome!
Do you have an opinion on this?
Start learning with some products I created just for you! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.