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Re: [TowerTalk] Tower safety gear

To: "Eugene Jensen" <>,<>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Tower safety gear
From: "Tower (K8RI)" <>
Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 23:37:51 -0400
List-post: <>

> I have followed this with some interest.  Yes, technically hams do not
> to follow OSHA rules.  But on the other hand, there is no rule against
> or being killed in a needless tower accident, is there?  The lineman
> waste belts and other restraining devices of this nature have long since
> been outlawed for the simple reason you just drown in your own fluids
> you are hanging for 20 minutes dangling in the air -- and by the time they
> rescue you, they are rescuing a corpse!

That is not the reasoning that was behind the change.
If you read the change, they (OSHA) change the rules because there was the
*possibility* for *some* individuals to slip through the belt.  IE over
weight and out of shape.

I gurantee I will not slip through mine.  Nor am I "top heavy" and would
remain upright.
OTOH, if a climber is using a tag line hooked to the D-rings *that* is going
to be the pivot point which is not a good thing.

I do agree that the fall arresting harness is a good idea and far better
than the tag line.

> I know this is a little descriptive, but this is the world that I have
> worked in and you don't get too many chances and the other subject is no
> safety equipment - no matter how well designed -- can do you much good
> unless you practice with it in a safe environment,


>and that is not by
> dangling 100 feet in the air, hoping that you installed it correctly and
> understand how to maneuver in it!

Again a highly unlikely situation except for the over weight and out of
shape whose waist is farther around than their chest or hips.

In nearly 40 years of climbing I have never had to use a fall arresting
device, but I have tested them in practice.  The mild shock in practice is
uncomfortable and makes the climber want to avoid falling which can be a lot
more violent.  Course, now days, most don't have to worry about "hugging a
pole" when your climbers slip.  In the early days I did hug a couple and I
can only liken "hugging a pole" to slipping down a porcupine with the quills
all pointing the wrong direction.  Now *that* is uncomfortable.  Actually it
down right hurts, but not as much as pulling out the slivers holding your
pants to your legs ... and other parts.

I think there is very important, but seldom mentioned for the novice, or non
climber and that is being aware of how easy it is to stay up too long.  I've
spent as many as 7 hours at a time on a tower with no problem. Yet... I had
an old American Steel tower that was only 90 feet.  The cross braces were 24
inches apart.   One climb on that was akin to 5 or 6, or even more on my 100
foot 45G or a couple hundred foot communications tower.  If I hadn't climbed
that particular tower in a while I knew I was going to have cramped calves
and charlie horses afterwards.

I haven't climbed a communications tower in almost 20 years.  I didn't think
it had been that long.  The last time I climbed was not all that high, but
it was for the purpose of getting a climber down. Not one who was injured,
but a guy who *thought* if I could do it so could he.  He made it part way
up and looked down... and froze.  They called me to come and get him down.
It was about a 50 mile drive (or so).  I had to get my equipment and then
drive up there.  Then I had to get him down.  I think that was the most
difficult climb I ever made. It wasn't all that high, but hands and feet,
hands and feet, up and down, up and down, placing each hand and foot, one at
a time to get him down.  Five of us couldn't even get him to jump off the
pier. We had to get a step ladder.

>    There should never ever be a point where you are unhooked from your
> tower!

With this I agree.

>  In 12 feet, you will accellerate to an extremely high speed.  That

12 Feet?  Dropping 6 inches can break bones.

> is why that OSHA approved fall restrictors are designed the way that they
> are -- to limit the impact that your body receives in just a short

Which is good. They also distribute the impact across more area/body parts
and in a more favorable direction.

If you fall wearing a properly rigged harness it's going to be
If you fall wearing a belt and use a tag line to arrest the fall it is going
to *hurt*
If you fall backwards with the belt and tag line it is most likely going to
break your back.
If you fall forwards with the belt and tag line it is like getting kicked in
the stomach, but after hitting your chin and forhead on a couple of cross
braces you most likely won't really notice.

> that you fall and it absorbs the shock of you falling.   May you all live
> long and safely! Gene K2QWD
However I'm a firm believer in wearing a climbing belt, staying in shape and
using a fall arresting harness.  I am firmly agaisnt wearing the climbing
harness that lets the climber take the weight off their legs and assume a
sitting position.  If the climber is tired enough to sit down, they should
come down.  I agree with the studies done by the mountain climbing and
cavers associations on the hazards of taking the sitting position too long
and then climbing down or up.  It apparently has resulted in at least
several deaths.

Roger Halstead (K8RI, EN73 & ARRL Life Member)
N833R, World's Oldest Debonair (S# CD-2)


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