How many climbers

Discussion in 'Safety - General Safety Issues' started by Vaeevictiss, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Vaeevictiss

    Vaeevictiss Friend of the Community

    Im trying to find out if there is a regulation regarding how many people should be on a tower crew. My company is trying to only send one or two people on our tower jobs, when i am trying to get 3-4. After hearing my ComTrain instructors story last year, of a guy that cut the back of his arm open when a band saw blade broke, i believe two people is just not enough.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Chris Mika

    Chris Mika First Time Poster

    There is no regulation to my knowledge that states how many individuals should be on a tower crew for safety. OSHA generally does not get that specific on an issue like that. This falls under the general duty clause which states the following:

    SEC. 5. Duties
    (a) Each employer --

    (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;

    (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

    29 USC 654

    (b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.

    -This is a general catch-all for negligent practices by employers.

    A way to better gauge what is appropriate are the general industry standards and practices. Generally speaking the industry standard is that there should be at least 2 tower climbers on site that are trained in tower rescue if any climbing is to be conducted. I could get even more granular on the qualifications that in my opinion would describe these individuals, but that is somewhat subjective. If alternative viable methods of rescue are available you might not even need 2 climbers on site, maybe if a climber is working on a tower behind a manned firehouse with a ladder truck of sufficient size to reach the climber on the tower, you could get away with 1 climber and 1 ground man. That is the rare type of situation where 2 climbers may not be required.

    At no time should a climber be dispatched to a site to climb a tower by themselves.

    In my opinion there are certainly situations where 2 climbers may not be enough for compliance with the general duty clause. Training level and competency of the climbers is a factor. Location of work on the structure, type of work being performed, and how quickly a rescue could be put together are also important factors.

    Additional tower climbers on site may create an even safer work environment, but so would covering up anything hard or sharp in latex foam and mounting the antennas at a 4' rad center on the tower. But they are not always the most practical solutions.

    The issue of what is a safe tower crew size beyond having at least 2 competent climbers is a judgment call. My suggestion is that if you ever feel that you are in a situation exposed to unnecessary risk you should bring the issue up to your direct line supervisor, then go up from there. Do not think you are going to make much headway if you are asking for additional climbers simply because you feel it is unsafe. Back it up with a description of a reasonable situation (not a Black Swan event) where the risk would be realized and give them a reasonable solution that requires the number of climbers you are asking for.

    BTW, What kind of work are they asking you to perform with one or two climbers?


  3. Vaeevictiss

    Vaeevictiss Friend of the Community

    We actually do work on all different types of structures all around the world. The jobs are the the Department of State. Its normally just putting up anywhere from 4'-20' masts or directional antennas. We don't actually put anything on towers other than antennas. We work on towers anywhere from 50'-600'. It is work that most certainly can be done with 2 trained climbers, however i have always felt much safer also having a guy on the ground.
  4. Chris Mika

    Chris Mika First Time Poster

  5. aurelian firta

    aurelian firta First Time Poster

    The real problem is that industry accepted practice is that only the tower rescue training is sufficient to make someone competent.But competency is a mixture of training,skills and experience.

    Once a year a couple abseils from low height under close supervision (sometimes you and the "victim" are backed-up with safety lines) is not enough to make someone an experienced rescuer.

    H&S management is based on statistics, fall from height is seen as a low-probability risk, so from this point of view there are not enough data to justify more safety measures (Does anyone know about a rescue done in real work/site condition?)

    Initially,rescue training was supposed to be practiced on a regular basis during the year to make the guys competent, but production days are lost for business, so the office guys came to idea that a tower rescue day training in a year is all we need because there are not too many falls and rescues to justify for more.

    A few of tower climbers have a real experience of a rescue,but i think that someone well trained in more work like situation has more chances to save his mate life.|

    For your case,you just can't climb 200m tower in 2 men team, period.

    For other jobs, minimum is 2 climbers,but everything depends on the site condition, 3 or 4 guys are not excluded.

    Also, try to minimize the risks when climbing:
    Climbing towers with lanyards is dangerous, it prevent the climber to hit the ground , but:

    -in most cases there is not enough fall clearance, for ex if you are in a fall factor 1 situation you gonna need at least 4 meters free space bellow,hitting an antenna pole couple meters down make the lanyard useless

    -climbing on diagonal tower legs or attaching the lanyard more horizontally expose the climber to a swing fall/pendulum effect which manufacturers like 3M affirm that can lead to death.

    Use a safety line when necessary, so, in event of a fall ,we have more chances to be conscious and not too badly injured and our team mate will do the rescue.
  6. nbassarab

    nbassarab First Time Poster

    OSHA Regulation 1926.502 (d)(20) states that “The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.”
    Some have felt that this means that only two trained rescuers need to be on site, and I agree that some tasks can be carried out in this way. However, if both employees are capable of being injured by the same hazard, then another person needs to be on site and capable of initiating and carrying out the rescue procedure. OSHA does not look at the tower climbing industry as creating one hazard for which you only need one rescue procedure. They will look at the job function that was being performed at the time of the accident and decide if a suitable rescue plan was in place for everyone that was in the path of the hazard.

    Site risk/hazard assessments are used for these purposes. Each job function will create a different hazard and each hazard has a different probability of happening as well as a different potential of danger to the employee. It is important to document these hazards as in depth as possible and analyze the threat potential to create a suitable rescue procedure for each site.

    While a minimum of two trained climbers on site might be acceptable for some functions, it is not acceptable for all job functions. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to be able to decide how many people need to be on site.

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