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[TowerTalk] Tower Climbing Safety

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower Climbing Safety
From: (Eugene Jensen)
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 23:02:31 -0600
The below is extremely well written, and I really cannot add to what he
has written about the mechanical aspects; however, from a practical
perception -- and after almost 20 years in industrial plants, I have an
observation:  regardless of manufacturer, I personally take old and new
employees out on a regular basis and we play "Peter Pan" -- with the
plant crane.  My observation is that one should never put on a climbing
harness without checking it out on a crane first or a lifting fixture
first.  What I have seen is (and it is always amusing), is that you are
being choked, being turned sideways, and all other possible positions
come up until these things are properly adjusted and set up; and they
have to be set up specifically to the individual involved who is using
it. It is extremely important due to the different manufacturers of
these devices. I just believe that you cannot strap one of these things
on, and then have your life depend on it; because when you are in any
distance above the ground, you are going to be in deep trouble if they
are not functioning correctly. The biggest problem I see is that they
are usually fitting too loosely, or are installed incorrectly, which
allows the body to slide into all sorts of weird positions which results
could be fatal.  The unpleasant part of this is that you don't want to
drown in one's own body fluids!  So always have someone with you to make
that call, to bring help quickly.  Be safe and live long!  Gene K2QWD 

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 10:27 AM
Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower Climbing Safety

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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Order online at

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