[TowerTalk] Position of fall arrest lanyard

K8RI on Tower talk k8ri-tower at charter.net
Wed Jun 14 15:57:10 EDT 2006

>> I know this has been tackle before, but can I please have
>> your thoughts on which is the best position for the fall
>> arrest lanyard, front or back. I use the back, but ran across
>> this picture today
>> http://en.petzl.com/petzl/ProConseils?Conseil=50&Activite=19
>> Neil Mayo
> That's the first time I've ever seen the fall arrest lanyard connected to
> the front. I would think the likelihood of back/spinal trauma would be far
> greater with a frontal connection. It seems like you'd get a pretty good
> snap backwards when the fall arrest lanyard caught you.

First, as always let me say I promote the use of  fall arrest gear in 
addition to the climbing gear.

Like anything else: It all depends.
It depends on the harness you are wearing, where it contacts the body, and 
how evenly it distributes that force.  Every falling position exerts forces 
in different directions and magnitudes which pretty much make "blanket 
statements" about any particular system, including belts, as pretty much 
meaningless with the exception of maybe one. No matter what you wear for 
safety a fall is most likely going to hurt.

When it comes to a fall how do you fall? Lose your footing?  This one is 
most likely going to hurt even with a harness, but the harness will 
distribute the forces over a large area and minimize the damage...unless you 
go face first into the tower. The one that'd be hard on the back with the 
front mounted D-ring would be missing a hook up and falling backwards, but 
most gear wont let you tip far before engaging. So, "in general" and I 
emphasize the "in general" the most it is going to do is knock the wind out 
of you.

I have fallen about 6 to 8 inches against a climbing belt that had two 
lanyards hooked to it. (one to each D-Ring) You bet it hurt! BUT it didn't 
break my back, it didn't cut off my breathing, and I didn't fall out of the 
thing. "To me" when companies address these aspects of falling with blanket 
statements they hurt their credibility.

To clarify, I'm in my mid 60's and in *relatively* good shape. I am not 
larger around the middle than the rest of me.  My waist is a fair amount 
smaller than my hips and a whale of a lot smaller than my chest and 
I can still breathe even suspended vertically by the belt. I can still 
breath with something pressing against my diaphram (as long as I can still 
expand my chest)  Upside down would be decidedly uncomfortable, but I'd not 
have to worry about sliding out of the belt.  OTOH I'd probably be pretty 
banged up from the tower with that kind of fall.

As to the legs and the full harness.  It was more than one incident and a 
report was issued a while back. Some one may have even posted a copy of it 
on here. It was enough that OSHA took notice. However the problems were not 
from falling. They were from the climbers using the leg straps to support 
them in a sitting position while working.  They weren't meant for that. If 
not used for that they are not a problem.  If you fall and they have to 
support you for a long period, dying from poor circulation is probably going 
to be the least of your worries.

Even working on my own tower (at my age my wife made me quit climbing for 
others) I may be up there 8 to 10 hours.  I'f my legs are getting tired that 
is a warning to get down, not to sit down in the harness. Sure I take 
breaks, but that is a bit different than setting down in the harness to 

Everything we do results in "playng the odds". When it comes to climbing 
towers I believe in stacking the odd in my favor by wearing good equipment 
and in my case I prefer a good belt plus a good harness. I always wear light 
weight, tight fitting, leather gloves that protect my hands as well as 
letting me grip small parts. I wear good, steel toe work boots that are 
suitable for climbing and will offer good foot support for extended periods.

In general, falls ARE going to hurt, but good safety equipment can 
eliminate, or at least minimize any damage.
Also when climbing have some one around who if not a climber can at least 
call for help.  You almost always need a gohpher when working so, unless 
brain dead or rattled brained (I have met people who would get so rattled 
they'd not be able to call for help) they can also serve as a safety backup 
to call for help.

As a quick aside, A few years back I had a SUV pull out in front of me on 
the highway.  He came out so fast I left less than 12' of skid marks before 
shortening my Trans Am up by a foot and a half or more. It put the right 
front wheel back into the firewall which was all the way back to the dash. 
The car stopped so quick the control head for my TM-D700 was smashed flat on 
the dash and the windshield blew out forward. The antenna on the back was 
molded right over the back of the car.

At any rate, I was unhurt other than being punchier than having just downed 
a 6-pack on an empty stomach would have made me.  One wittness who saw the 
entire thing was so shook up she could not even talk to the city police to 
give a statement.  She was beyond being able to rationally function with 
friends having to console her.  She should have been riding with me<:-))

Roger Halstead (K8RI and ARRL 40 year Life Member)
N833R - World's oldest Debonair CD-2

> Doug
> K4DDR (who has his dual FA lanyard connected to the back and a gorilla 
> hook
> on the front)
> _______________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> TowerTalk mailing list
> TowerTalk at contesting.com
> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/towertalk

More information about the TowerTalk mailing list