John, thanks for posting this. I hope it convinces people to carefully
consider their next temporary guy arrangement.
I thought about it a lot when I installed my 110' Rohn 55 tower on a pier
pin base. I wasn't comfortable with trusting my life to temporary rope guys,
especially when hauling 100 lb sections up the tower. So I used the 1/8"
stainless steel guys that came with my AB-577 portable tower. That's not a
lot of diameter, and we're talking stainless wire rope as opposed to stiff
EHS, but the guys and their 3' screw-in anchors had held up a 75' AB-577
with a 10 sq ft 4-el SteppIR for several years without incident.
I was confident that the 1/8" stainless guys were superior to rope, but I
did worry about the "snubbers" used to secure the guys at the anchor
connection. In the end I concluded that they, too, had proven themselves in
service with the AB-577. They also had the advantage of allowing me to fully
tension the guys in a manner similar to using a turnbuckle, instead of
relying on just pulling the guys tight.
I was not able to use the new tower's permanent anchors to secure the
temporary guys because one anchor was up a steep grade and the temporary guy
would have been horizontal or sloping up slightly towards the anchor. I
didn't like that idea at all. So I used the existing AB-577 screw-in anchors
that were on relatively flat ground 50' from the base. My soil is very hard
and rocky -- each of those anchors took a long time to screw in, and had
been through many winter freeze/thaw cycles, which tends to harden up the
ground around here. It seemed very unlikely to me that the anchors would
pull out when they hadn't budged from the SteppIR and rotor at 75' pulling
on them for years.
After securing the bottom section with the AB-577 guys, I hauled up the
second section and installed it. As I was moving the gin pole to the top of
the second section, I looked down 10 feet at the AB-577 guys and thought,
"This arrangement will probably be OK for installing the third section with
its permanent guys, but what the heck -- it'll only take a few minutes to
rig another set of three guys on top of the second section." Figuring I only
had to use temporary guys one time in this project, it seemed worth the time
and effort to get an extra margin of safety. So I rigged a second set of
guys from the top of the second section to the same anchors. I'm really glad
I did. As the third section came up (we used an electric winch mounted to
the bottom section), I could feel the strain on the entire structure I was
strapped to, and was quite happy that two sets of well-tensioned steel guys
had my back. And I was a *lot* happier climbing the tower after I had the
first set of permanent guys installed using the permanent anchors!
I guess if I was a professional tower rigger, I would make up an assortment
of different length temporary guys using either 1/4" wire rope or EHS.
73, Dick WC1M
From: John Crovelli [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2011 1:31 AM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Temporary Guys
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 emphasis).
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 immobile, 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
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 it.
So please, don't make the same avoidable mistake that I made. Life is too
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