On 5/28/2012 10:21 AM, Jim Lux wrote:
> In the ag business, it was unionization (UFW) that finally stopped the
> biggest abuses. Sadly, like in many cases, the union then kind of went
> off the rails over time, after they had won the legislative battles to
> ban the most abusive practices, they had to find another dragon to
> battle. Somehow, I don't see a big unionization effort happening for
> tower climbers. The foolish kids doing it for $10/hr don't last ( they
> tire out or die), and the pros making substantially more don't need
> it. As has been pointed out several times.. the kind of tower worker
> one hires for commercial radio or your ham antenna is really a
> different category than the "let's put up 1000 cell sites in 100 days"
> kind of worker.
Unfortunately we still are stuck with the liability, but rarely use
trained and bonded climbers. We may have a friend or some one in the
club, who climbs small towers and if he made a mistake and got hurt
would just write if off as "shit happens", but his family or heirs might
not. If you have a nice home, or have save up a nice next egg for
retirement, hiring non professional climbers is putting your entire
future in their hands.
Typically, most hams are not working with equipment up to industry
standards. How many have picked up an old, nylon climbing belt? How
many use a full body harness with fall arrest gear? Since having a 45G
for close to 12 years now, I feel uncomfortable climbing a little 25G
even if it does have temporary guys at every level. Many times we are
working on old towers and who knows what the inside of the legs look
like. I've discovered more than one that looked great on inspection,
but was not much more than a coat of paint on the outside in places.
There is equipment that can measure leg thickness through a coat of
paint, but most hams are unaware of it and couldn't afford it if they
did. These are particularly handy measuring towers with tubular legs
set in concrete. OTOH I've seen those legs that separated right at the
junction as neatly as if they had been sawed off. Those would have only
been found using a dead blow or rubber hammer. One whack and the leg
would have easily separated.
So, I view climbing ham towers as actually more dangerous because of a
lack of history, and often lack of knowledge of installation practices.
Taking old towers down is particularly dangerous.
I see unions like I do government. They have a tendency to grow and to
take on power. With size and power comes a desire to gain more power
and size. Corruption is often used to maintain or gain maintain power
and growth. With their original implementations they did a great deal
of good and still have a place. Regulations are a necessity but they
too tend to grow as do the agencies that create them until the
regulations and agencies themselves can become a problem.
Some of the scariest words are "There oughta be a law" as a knee jerk
reaction to an accident or man made disaster.
We, as hams are already heavily regulated in many if not most areas. If
you put up a new tower or antenna and your neighbors do not like the
looks of it or are afraid it'll lower their property value you can end
up in court.
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