[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
>> 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
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
> K4DDR (who has his dual FA lanyard connected to the back and a gorilla
> on the front)
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