Warning: USING ROPE FOR TEMPORARY TOWER GUYING CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR
HEALTH. SUDDEN GUY SYSTEM FAILURES CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY AND EVEN DEATH.
WHEN WORKING ON TOWERS DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS. THINK TWICE BEFORE TAKING ANY
ACTION THAT COULD PUT YOUR LIFE UNNECESSARILY IN HARMS WAY (CAPS used for
Hope I've gained your attention. This is a terribly serious subject. Comments
posted on TT this week may have lead some less experienced or knowledgeable
readers to believe using rope for guying is OK. Well, its not OK.....not at
all OK in my opinion.
I hope that as the result of reading about my tower accident experiences you
will think twice before taking what is a totally avoidable risk.
Three years ago I road 30 feet of Rohn 45G steel tower to the ground. A highly
tensioned temporary guy rope (a piece of rope that had been used for the same
purpose many times) suddenly elongated as a section of tower was being hauled
up to me. Trust me - you never want to experience the absolute terror of
being strapped to a falling tower. There is no escape, and what happens next
is totally in god's hands.
Fortunately for me, I survived the fall, landing on my back in the mud. The
top of the tower had literally bent itself around my pelvis and upper thighs
(the section had to be scraped). The first thing I remember doing was wiggling
my toes....happily with success. But I had suffered multiple serious injuries.
My back was fractured in three places, and my pelvis in six places. There was
extensive soft tissue trauma and nerve damage to my abdomen and upper legs
where the tower landed on top of me. And they found I had a crushed artery and
internal bleeding. Luckily I was taken to a major trauma center with the
facilities and staff expertise to skillfully handle my situation.
I spent the first three days in Intensive Care, my status starting out as
critical, but gradually upgraded as days passed. The damaged leaking artery
was quickly discovered and surgically repaired. They have to give me 8 units
of blood. Later that first night, as the result of this injury, a blood clot
broke loose and made its way to my heart and lung - causing the doctors on call
considerable concern for several hours - a very life-threatening situation.
On day three, I was fitted with a molded plastic full upper body brace which
would be my constant (and uncomfortable) companion for the next 8 weeks. Two
days later an orthopedic surgeon repaired my flexible flyer pelvis,
strategically inserting two six inch SS screws during a 3 hour operation.
After seven days in the primary care hospital, I was transferred to a
rehabilitation facility for an additional 12 days of inpatient treatment to put
me on the path to walking again. The trauma of the fall had left me fully im
mobile, unable to effectively use my legs. The insurance bill for the first
three weeks of combined hospital, medical and surgical care was $240K. The
toll of the accident physically, emotionally, and financially was substantial.
When I finally got back home, there was physical therapy for another two
months. It was a slow and often painful process getting my legs back in shape
after the blunt force trauma. But three months to the day after an event that
could have just as easily left me permanently disabled or worse, I climbed my
first tower. My doctors credit being in excellent physical condition prior to
the fall for an unusually short twelve week recovery. Today I have no apparent
lingering physical problems as the result of the fall.
If I had it to do it all over again, there would have been steel or phillystran
temporary guys on that peer pin mounted tower. Yes, I know it is very
inconvenient and takes far more time and effort to use steel or equivalent
guying materials, but there is no substitute for safety. Your life depends on
So please, don't make the same avoidable mistake that I made. Life is too
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