Another experienced ham dies from a tower fall - PV8ADI ! That's two high profile deaths in 6 months (W0AIH was the other). I heard about this today and offered this to my 'other' club group. I thought a refresher would be good for this group, too.
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 09:45:23 -0600
From: W0MU Mike Fatchett <w0mu@...>
Subject: Re: [Gmc] PV8ADI SK
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Sorry to hear this news.
Another accident similar to W0AIH.? It too could have been prevented.
If you are only climbing with a belt these days, you might want to
reconsider.? Get yourself a new belt and fall arrest harness or hire a
professional.? None of us are getting younger.
Yes - throw away the old waistband climbing belt or keep it just for hanging off the bottom section. The evolution of the tower climbing industry over the last decade has made PROPER tower climbing equipment affordable to anyone who can afford a tower.
10-15 years ago, the tower climbing "industry" was a disaster, with 'gypsy' gangs of young men roving the country, living in their trucks and working for anyone with a erection contract, without much training. Some of their practices were horrific ! Yes, there were exceptions, but the majority were untrained and unafraid - the oil field roughnecks of the communications world. So many people were being killed in accidents that OSHA stepped in and told the "industry" they needed to clean it up or they (OSHA) would clean it for them, along with copious red tape and regulations.
So, very quickly, the movers and shakers of the industry, mostly those with legitimate businesses (I.E. businesses with safety procedures and employment standards), founded a national association (NATE - National Association of Tower Erectors) and proceeded to mostly clean up their industry. They published guidelines and best practice procedures, educated those that could be educated. and developed or promoted proper GEAR for different climbing tasks and
That gear is available from a wide base of suppliers and is inexpensive for what it does (saving your life while making climbing easier). Last I checked, one could buy a complete multi-point, fall arrest harness with positioning and stabilizing belts for a little over $400. You could option this up with accessories like self-rescue rope packs, cold weather gear, ect.
If you still climb with a old-fashion linesman belt and positioning strap, stop. We're not getting younger and the towers and beams always seem to get taller and heavier. If you slip, or have a medical problem and loose consciousness or grip while up the tower, a linesman belt will likely invert you from your tie-off point and, unless you are found and rescued quickly, you will linger for a long time before succumbing.
Yes, even a full-on certified harness will not save you if you're not tied off to a solid anchor but WE don't do such foolish things, do we ?
Keith J Morehouse
Calmesa Partners G.P.