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RE: [TowerTalk] Certification to climb towers?

To: "'John Lloyd'" <>, <>
Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Certification to climb towers?
From: "Ken Anderson" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 20:23:22 -0700
List-post: <>
As a safety consultant (in the insurance industry) I can tell you there
are no OSHA certifications for anything.  OSHA has training requirements
imbedded in many of their standards and it is the employer's
responsibility to make sure that they train their employees where
required by OSHA.  When the employer (or a consultant like me) provides
safety training it is documented and the trainees are then considered
"certified" for that training by OSHA, but OSHA does not actually
certify anyone.  I am "authorized" by OSHA (through specific training
and experience)to provide OSHA construction safety outreach programs (10
and 30 hour) and the attendees get a card that they have received the
training.  There is no "certification".  

In the case of fall protection the employer must have a written fall
protection plan and must train any employees who must work at heights
and use fall protection.  OSHA does indeed require the use of a full
body harness in place of a belt.  There are harnesses available that
will still allow hooking in with "D" rings at the hips (to hold the
wearer in place on a tower or a rebar cage or whatever) but there is
still a "D" ring in the middle of the back of the harness where the
actual fall protection shock absorbing lanyard must be secured. The hook
in at the hips is considered a "positioning device" that will hold the
wearer in place while performing the work but it is not fall protection.
And do not be fooled by equipment that claims to be "OSHA Certified"
because OSHA does not certify any equipment.  There is equipment that
complies with the OSHA requirements but it is not certified by OSHA. If
you are buying fall protection equipment get it from a reputable company
like DBI/SALA, Miller, MSA, Rose etc.  It may cost more than the ham
fest find, but I consider it cheap life insurance.  Please don't use
just a belt.  There are too many critical injuries to internal organs
and even deaths from hanging in a belt awaiting rescue.  A full harness
spreads the force of a fall over stronger structures in the body.  And
remember that fall protection harnesses and lanyards are only personal
protective equipment (PPE).  It does not prevent the fall, it just
prevents injury when a fall occurs.  Myself, I prefer engineering
controls that remove the fall hazard entirely like a tower that tilts
over to allow work from the ground or a Hazer, etc.  Then I don't have
to rely on PPE. 

OSHA has no jurisdiction over private parties and they will not
investigate a fatality that does not involve an employee killed in the
course of their employment.  As a private party there is no requirement
that you be certified to climb your tower.  Whether a claim is paid or
not depends on State work comp law which can vary greatly from State to
State.  Some States have statutes that allow the insurance carrier to
limit work comp payments if an employee was not following established
safety rules or was under the influence when the accident occurred.  I
don't see any impact on whether an insurance company would pay a life
insurance claim or private disability to someone killed or injured
working on their own equipment.  Remember the speaker was talking from
the perspective of an employer and they are required to provide the

If you have someone come work on your tower, you as a private party are
under no requirement to make sure they are trained.  There have been
many cases where a subcontractor has sued a homeowner because they were
injured working for the homeowner but these suits usually go nowhere.  A
private citizen cannot be required to have knowledge of OSHA standards
that govern the subcontractor's work.  If I were actually hiring someone
to work on a tower for me I would make sure they have liability
insurance and request a copy of their certificate of insurance proving
coverage.  That way if they damaged the tower, antennas or your home
during the work you could file claim against their coverage.  If they
are a company with more employees than just them self (like a sole
proprietor) I would require a certificate of insurance proving they have
work comp coverage.  This is common practice with contractors, they are
used to being asked for a certificate of insurance.  If they are just
the local ham offering to do some tower work for you this will not be
available and if they are injured they (or their survivors)could try to
file suit against you.  Not sure it would go far.  They are assuming a
certain amount of risk by climbing the tower.  Just make sure they know
what they are doing and that they have appropriate fall protection

Here is a link with some good information about fall protection:

Sorry for the long post, but I figured I would offer what help I could
in answering your question.

Ken Anderson, N0VZ
Certified Safey Professional (CSP)
Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)

-----Original Message-----
From: John Lloyd [] 
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2004 3:03 PM
Subject: [TowerTalk] Certification to climb towers?

I went to a club meeting last night where the speaker was in the
business of Tower and Antenna Installation. He said that the OSHA rules
have changed over that past few years and that everyone who climbs
towers needs to be certified to climb and and must use the proper body
harness climbing belts and locking belt clips.

He also said that if there is an accident, that OSHA WILL come and
inspect the Tower accident. If the climber is not certified then the
insurance companies won't pay any claims.

I would like to know if someone could confirm this and let me know what
one needs to go through to get certified to climb towers?  I've only
been climbing towers for 37 years now and yes I have a body harness
climbing belt. I climb towers to repair and maintain my ham radio
antennas. I did not know that everyone needs to be certified to climb.

Can someone direct me to some information on the web about
certifications for tower climbers and the OSHA requirements?


John, K7JL


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