Inspect, Evaluate BEFORE climbing!

Discussion in 'Incident and Near Miss Discussions' started by Jimmy Colbert, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Jimmy Colbert

    Jimmy Colbert Industry Observer

    The KFI tower collapse was as near as you can get to a near miss and still walk away. It would be hard to kick the tires on these anchors since what appears to be the weak link (the solid rod tie-back with a turnbuckle) is not something that you would ever know was a problem.

    There are probably a lot of foundations out there that were designed by people that had no knowledge about proper design. It was also easy to doctor up design drawings. Although people would get sealed drawings for the guy anchor foundations they typically had a note that said ?anchors by others? or some other comment.

    So it allowed the contractor to design anything he wanted and the inspector had no clue as to what he was looking at.

    There might be a lot of bad product out there. The BIG question is if you are in the industry and you see something that just doesn?t pass the look test, how can you go about getting the owner to investigate it to make sure that the tower is safe? Some owners will not even fix their lighting system when they?ve been told it is not working properly.

    I shudder when I think of what would have happened if the erectors men had been on the tower setting the next section if the anchor didn?t fail after they tensioned it.

    I?m hoping that there is a quick lesson learned available from this incident.
  2. Winton Wilcox

    Winton Wilcox Friend of the Community

    A ComTrain instructor was asked a few months ago about hazard assessments and what to check before climbing, after a lengthy discussion the question came up "What do I check on anchors?". The instructor discussed the point of daylight, angles and distortion but the student was insistent and wanted exact directions. The instructor said "treat a tower like a new car". "Walk around it, kick the tires or anchors, pull, push and listen".

    A few weeks after this session the student was preparing to change out an antenna on a guyed tower and was working with a new technician. The student escorted the new hand around the site explaining that Mike (the instructor) was a stickler for safety and wanted them to kick and look and listen. The student then demonstrated by kicking the anchor shaft, laughing at first. The anchor flew out of the ground, the tower collapsed and both climbers were shocked. The student immediately called the instructor and told him that he did what he was told but the tower fell down! Mike laughed and said "see, imagine what would have happened if you had climbed that tower and then the anchor failed!"

    Know what you are working on, how it works and what to look for. We have always recommended getting a copy of the EIA/TIA 222 and keeping it handy to check. The new release is the perfect time to get a copy and use it to question what the structure should look like. If you don't know what is right from wrong then you don't know what is safe from what is dangerous.

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