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[TowerTalk] Fall Harness-My Choice

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Fall Harness-My Choice
From: "Jim Thomson" <>
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 05:46:00 -0700
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Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 01:44:13 -0700
From: David Gilbert <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Fall Harness-My Choice

My hesitation in buying the safety cable was simply that I didn't want 
to trust my life to a spring gripping system I suspected I wouldn't be 
able to see (I've never seen one in person so I wasn't certain how 
enclosed the mechanism was). 

##  rohn also has them.   There is no spring mechanism  if u fall. 
The system uses a cam/pall  shaped device... that always rides/slides
on the cable.   When u try and slide it down the cable, it instantly bites into 

## If u ever see a pix of one [ it in the old rohn catalogs]  u will see 
instantly how it works. 
If u see one attached to the bottom of a tower... you can grab it..and it 
freely slides UP the cable..
to any where u want.  let go.. and it stays put.  The cam/pall is an offset 
chunk of steel..with the weight
towards ur body. The other end/shorter end... bears on the cable.  the thing 
can only freely slide one way
...UP.   The  spring mechanism is a hand operated deal.. that temp releases the 
cam/pall  from the cable,
so u can freely slide it down a bit..when climbing down.  If u fell while 
climbing down.. and let go of the
device.. it instantly grabs the cable again. 

## best thing to do is to see if u can see a pix of one... then u will see 
right away that's it
fail safe.   You still need ur hooks though.    Once u get to top of tower..or 
at what ever 
level u want to work at.... say 180 deg opposite the safety cable,    you need 
to h1st hook on
with ur gorrilla  hooks,,  THEN  do a total rld on the safety device... and 
detach urself  from  it. 
It detaches from the safety cable... and stays with you.    Then you are free 
to do whatever. 

## when done... u re-attach  back to safety cable, undo gorilla hooks... then 
proceed  up/down the
tower.  All our cell sites, micowave sites are rigged with them.   If not,  we 
are not allowed to climb em. 
Same deal witrh water tower's etc.  At least that's in the real world, where 
CSA/OSHA  compliant 
fall arrest systems are mandatory  for commercial stuff.  Hams are free to do 
as they please.  
 Where problems can occur is when Joe ham decides  to employ professional 
help/contractor's... and the
1st thing they see is  'No fall arrest system in place'..... then it's    
bye-bye.    It either gets installed.. or they 
won't  work on your tower with out it.   If it's not in place... they are not 
covered by  either workman's 
compensation.... or if they are killed.. their life insurance may well be null 
and void. 

##  You may want to check ur own health / life insurance plan.   Never thought 
of this b4.... but if they
knew joe ham owned, and climbed  his own tower, that was NOT equipped with a 
fall arrest device installed,
there could be repercussions after the fact. 

## the only time they go up a tower  with out a fall arrest system in place 
is... when they go to install
 a new one... either on a new tower install.... or on an existing  ham tower 
that never had one from day one. 

##  They are relatively cheap insurance.   The cost of the 3/8" winch cable  
for a 70' tower is really chump
change.   My concern  would be getting nailed in the eye  by one of those  10"  
long climbing pegs.  They
are usually every 12", alternating sides on the same tower leg.   The kicker 
is.. there is a 60 deg angle 
between the pegs.   It's not like climbing  a  regular peg ladder... nor an 
extension ladder.  You never
have 2 feet  side by side on a peg ladder.. same deal with ur two hands]  One 
is always up.. and one is
always down.       

 At least with the gorilla hooks, I can see 
that they are closed and that the safety latch has been been locked in 
place each time.

The gorilla hooks release and open all in the same hand gripping motion, 
so it is not appreciably slower than simply climbing or descending.

## agreed... until u pass out, or get nailed in the head  from above.  Don't 
One of my buddies at work was on loan to the ant crew for a few months, with a 
few new cell tower/ant installs.  It was a 240' tower..and he was at the 120' 
[they were installing heliax onto hangers].   The boss was up at the 240' 
something went wrong..and he dropped  one of those heavy chain ratchet hoists
made by Yale and Town..[sorta like a cum-a long on steroids..uses chain instead 
cable].    My buddy felt something whiz past his left ear, nicking his ear lobe 
If he had not been leaning over on a bit of an angle.. or was over by 1" more...
he would have got nailed in the  shoulder or head.    I believe  after that 
you could not have   personel   directly above one another..and both climing
at the same time.  One would have to go up/down 1st... until they were at least
into position.   In a lot of cases,  step pegs  were installed on  2 x 
legs..and sometimes
all 3 x legs. ..[with a safety cable on each one] .   

## The only mishap I ever had..was dropping a  jigsaw, with a metal cutting 
blade in it...
for some silly rusted bolts at top of my 1st  tower.    It was not tied off, 
and I dropped fell
75'  and hit the garage roof... and bounced  25'  sideways back into the 
air..and just missed a grnd
worker.   Be careful with 120 vac  power tools up a tower... esp when it starts 
to rain.  There is a 
100 things that can go wrong up any tower.... like  leaving U bolts and tools 
resting on 
rotor/bearing plates... and using em as a shelf... then forgetting abt em... 
until the wind /vibration
finally nudges em  over the edge.   1/2"  bolts  can hit the  grnd pretty hard. 
  Then  we have the
folks who paint towers  orange and white [ repaint em].  They can tell you some 
stories.... but
usually wait.... til they are retired.   Every Telco/cell co has  a 'safety 
Sam' whose job it is to investigate
incidents like these...if he hears abt it.   

Later... Jim  VE7RF   

In addition, I can use the two hooks and safety straps to climb around 
the tower and suspend myself wherever I might need to work so that both 
hands are free.  That wouldn't be as workable with the safety cable 
unless I brought along extra straps anyway.

Dave   AB7E

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