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[TowerTalk] Tower Climbing Safety

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower Climbing Safety
From: (
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 16:26:59 +0000
If I may add my two cents.  First, besides being a 
chemical process engineer, I have 15 + years experience 
in Industrial Health & Safety and OSHA compliance.

I personally use a MSA full body harness, that features 
a back D Ring, between the shoulder blades, and two side 
hip D Rings.  It also has thigh and butt straps.  There 
is no belt (later on that).  I, like others, don't like 
falling, and make it a habit to be always clipped on, 
even when climbing.  I use two connection devices.  
First I use what is called a Rebar Chain Positioning 
assembly, which consists of two locking snaphooks on 
each end of a thirteen link chain.  These attach to the 
hip D rings.  Floating on the chain is a gorilla hook, 
with safety latch mechanism.  I clip the gorilla hook to 
a tower member and can then lean back freeing both 
hands.  I can also slide a little side to side also.  
The gorilla hook allows quick connection and 
disconnection.  Secondly, I have a six foot shock 
absorbing lanyard attached to the back D ring.  On the 
other end, I've attached another gorilla hook.   As I 
climb I, religiously hook and rehook the lanyard.  Once 
at the working spot, I hook the lanyard somewhere above 
my head.  I'll admit, I'll go between the lanyard's and 
the positioning chain's gorilla hooks as I move around 
the tower, but one of the two is always attached.  
Carbiners are designed for attachment and not for 
repeated connection & disconnection.  I'll use a 
carbiner to secure the rotator to the tower prior to 
installation after it has been hoisted to the top, but 
never to connect me.  Two hands are required, by design, 
to twist the safety lock and move the lever.

An important note to make is that all of you should have 
a shock absorbing lanyard.  The reason is, to sum it up 
greatly, is that when your body falls, and then is 
abrupty stopped by a line, the forces that are exterted 
on the body are on the order of about 5000 lbs for a 
typical 300 lb body.  That's enough force to really mess 
you up.  The shock absorbing lanyards are designed to 
cushion the fall shock to on the order of around 500 
lbs.  The full body harness is designed to transmit the 
fall shock to the strongest part of the body, the hips.  
The lack of a belt is on purpose, the belly is a soft 

With steel shank shoes and good gloves ( I like brown 
cotton jersey gloves that have rubber dots on them.), 
and a good harness, I am very comfortable up the tower.

Not to take business from Steve & Champion or ONV, who 
all market excellent products, there are other 
manufacturers and suppliers of this gear.  Miller, MSA, 
and DBI Sala are some manufacturers that come to mind.  
Suppliers include Grainger, Lab Safety, Airgas Safety, 
and other industrial safety supply houses.  Look on the 

Keep safe,  Phil  KB9CRY

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