[TowerTalk] tower fatality

Bob Shohet, KQ2M kq2m at kq2m.com
Sun Jun 16 22:52:29 EDT 2019

Very tragic indeed and completely avoidable with a little common sense and foresight.  

Both of my Rohn 45 towers use pier pin bases.   The temporary 1/4” EHS guys were put on the top of first section on the ground and then the section was pulled up and the guys FULLY tightened.  Then the climber climbed up to the top of the first section and then the second and third sections were put on one at a time.  The the fourth section was pulled up with the next set of guys already attached to the top of the 4th section.  They were put on with some nervous moments of the tower climber because he was on the 4th section (3rd unguyed section).   As a safety precaution,  the guys were put in place on the top of the 4th section while on the ground so that the tower climber would not need to go up there to attach them.  After bolting in place the 4th section, he came down off the tower.  Then we fully tightened the 4th section while he was on the ground.  And while doing so there was a tremendous ZZZAAANK!!! noise as the bottom of the tower base swiveled about 2” in a nanosecond – it was the forces between the guy wires equalizing in the tower while we tightened the guy wires.  Had the tower climber been on that 4th section instead of the ground, it would have scared the living daylights out of him.

Once we finished tightening the 4th section to specifications and before loosening up the tensioned guys on the top of the first section, he climbed up to the top of the 4th section to ensure that everything was tight and correctly in place.  Once he confirmed it, he came down off the tower, we took off the guys at the 10’ level and then we were ready to put up the 5th section.  Once we were fully guyed and tensioned at 40’ there was no need for any more temporary guys.  Although it was much harder to pull up the section with three guy wires attached, it was much safer for the climber to have these already in place on each leg and fully tensioned before he climbed the final unguyed section.   And we repeated this process guying at 40’ intervals.

This entire process only took about another 30 minutes for each 4 sections, but was much, much safer for the the climber and the ground crew and far better for the tower.  Our climber was always climbing a guyed and tensioned tower when doing any work – which is as it should be.  Safety first!  ALWAYS!


Bob  KQ2M

From: K9MA 
Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2019 9:52 PM
To: towertalk at contesting.com 
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] tower fatality

On 6/16/2019 15:00, Dick Green WC1M wrote:
> You put the temporary guys on with the base section on the ground, then with at least one helper you lift the base section onto the pier pin. Then, with at least one person holding the base section in place, you tighten the temporary guys.

Just last week, I put up a pier pin base Rohn 25 just about that way. 
While waiting for my helper to arrive, I attached the temporary guys to 
the top of the first section. A second set of ropes were attached to the 
anchors, and loosely tied to the middle of the section. I then stood the 
section on end, lifted it onto the pier pin, and tied the lower ropes 
onto the tower. That kept it upright until I went around to the anchors 
and tightened the main temporary guys. When my helper arrived, we were 
ready to put up the gin pole and install the second section.

I wouldn't try that alone with Rohn 55, of course.


Scott K9MA

Scott  K9MA

k9ma at sdellington.us


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