Tower Climbing Safety
Safety is a primary concern of us all, here at Wireless Services, equalled only by our dedication to quality. As such, we felt it was appropriate that our first posting should focus on the topic of climber safety in our industry. There were 10 tower climber deaths in 2014, and 14 in 2013, just within the telecommunications industry. The most tragic aspect of these deaths is that the majority of these accidents were caused by climber error, and could have been, and should have been, avoided. However, personal mistakes, or not, no one should lose their life to their job, and our condolences go out to the friends and family of them all.
Sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes equipment fails. This is why no one should ever further increase the risk to their life by cutting corners regarding safety. Since the telecommunications industry is not very heavily regulated, concerning climber safety, it is quite literally within our own hands to keep ourselves, and our coworkers, safe. No one should ever skimp on safety to show off, please a supervisor, or simply because they believe nothing could ever happen to them. Nor is it appropriate for a supervisor, manager, or other authority figure to rush their employees to the point of being unsafe. We have deadlines to meet, and schedules to keep, but not at the risk of human life.
While federal regulations may be dated, the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) is an organization dedicated to the overall tower industry, and an excellent resource for all things tower safety related. On their above-linked home website, they have a wealth of climber safety related material there, such as best practices, new climber orientation, and safe climbing resources. They exist for safety in our industry. Check them out.
Wireless Estimator is another great telecommunications industry resource that provides information about most everything pertinent to our industry, including news, regulations, job postings, and general industry information, as well as safety. Their site also includes the aforementioned statistics related to cell tower climber deaths, including reports on each incident, going back nearly 13 years. So, whether you're a rigger looking for a job, a contractor looking to hire, or simply interested in tower news or safety, this is the place to look.
Wade Sarver, while not quoted or referenced in this article, is a "twitter friend" of ours. We have discussed, more than once, the tragic, and needless, deaths that have befell our industry lately. While I've never met him in person, he is an action-oriented, forward-thinking individual committed to tower climber safety. More than just a presence on twitter, he maintains a website, blog, podcast, and writes books and articles on climber safety, all of which can be accessed from his website. I have no affiliation with Mr. Sarver, aside from being a follower of his twitter account, and agreeing with, and supporting, his views on climber safety, but highly recommend checking him out. He truly has the well-being of climbers everywhere always in mind!