Is this really feasible and will it prevent injuries??

Discussion in 'Climbing Towers' started by John Petruska, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. John Petruska

    John Petruska Friend of the Community

    I do not believe this is the answer to the problem, it may sound good now which shows people in the industry are thinking about a solution to the problem of tower fatalities and injuries.

    First; there are no training facilities in which I am aware of who can teach anyone "How to climb", this is one of the elite industries that in which it is all "hands on" training, so if there are no places in which training is available, who is going to determine an individual is licensed to climb?
    I understand there are training facilities such as Comtrain, Gravitec, DBI etc. who teach individuals the rules and regulations regarding industry standards and how to properly use the equipment and to prevent someone from falling, but do these places teach safe thought process in everyday actions?

    Second; what will a license accomplish? Most people have a drivers license? What did it teach you? The classes in which were taken taught you how to drive a vehicle safely down a road and obey the laws set forth by the government, does that keep you from breaking the law while driving a vehicle?
    Just because a "Tower Climber" has a license doesn't mean he will obey the law, or not have an accident, just as with driving a vehicle every day. Each day there are literally thousands of vehicle accidents, all of them have a "License"...just because someone may possess a license doesn't deem them a good driver, nor will this work in this industry.

    Third; who will track, enforce, mandate etc this "Licensing" process? The only entity I can see being large enough for a task such as this is the federal government, do we really want them more involved than they already are in our industry?

    At the end of the day, peoples actions while they are working, driving, lounging, relaxing, partying whatever all come down to a little word called "CHOICE".

    People know the difference between right and wrong, safe and unsafe with this knowledge, every individual chooses his/her actions throughout every day, having a license will not change a persons choice of actions.

    If we really want to cut down on industry fatalities, incidents, injuries etc we must change the thought process of the workers themselves. They must believe in safety, then they can act upon it. This is what the industry must focus on, getting people to believe safety is a PRIORITY not a mandate from the company they work for, OSHA, NATE or whoever, they must believe in it for themselves to make it happen.

    The license thing is a good idea yet all I can see is problems in the future if this proposition would go I said earlier, just because you have a license doesn't mean you're going to abide by the law.
  2. Glen Tenier

    Glen Tenier Industry Observer

    Whether you believe in licensing or not, this issue as you say has people focusing upon safety and that's healthy.

    Your comments are excellent and you're right, to change the high fatality rate we must change the mind set.

    You mentioned that having a license doesn't stop anybody from speeding and driving carelessly. But consider this.

    How many people racked up so many points that one more ticket would result in the yanking of their license. All of a sudden the loss of that license became a frightening thought and they actually started driving responsibly because they knew that their livelihood depended upon having a license.

    Why would that be any different for a climber who knows that he would not be able to get a job if he lost his license due to not adhering to minimum standards? Granted, each company might have different enforcement levels, but if you can't abide by the minimum requirements you shouldn't be working in the industry.

    The licensing issue on this forum seems to be focusing upon safety, but it could be an excellent way to have licensing skill levels as well. I'm tilting toward licensing, but that might change when I'm able to digest what other climbers are saying.
  3. Benjamin McManus

    Benjamin McManus Friend of the Community

    You are right. I don't think any of the training out there fully prepares anyone for the "real world". But, that is why I think it should be handled by licensing at different levels, just like any other trade. Say a 4 man crew would be made up of a Master Towerhand, 1 or 2 Journeyman Towerhands, and a helper (no license for a helper). Now, just because the helper is not licensed doesn't mean that he can't climb. Just like an electricians helper can wire a panel, but under supervision. One might think that this would result in a few Master Towerhands and a ton of un-licensed helpers. It won't. You are going to have Journeyman as it would be a required step to make Master.
  4. Kevin Cresswell

    Kevin Cresswell Friend of the Community

    As a 14 year climber I have built, serviced towers, installed paging, radio/TV, two way communications, cell - pretty much all things from a caisson to a beacon and still have a lot to learn. What I have learned is my own limit. No card or certification can determine safety or my knowledge. It can only regulate who climbs legally. Each tower and job is different and the installs changes from day to day like the weather. The main issue here is safety. Let?s stay focused on that. We all have a part to do in this matter each day. We should know who is climbing beside us and know our limits. Neither a book nor test can determine what we see on a site day to day. Even the best and smartest tower hands have made mistakes that ended their life. This is very tragic.
  5. John Petruska

    John Petruska Friend of the Community

    Worker safety should be the main focus of this discussion and by reading multiple threads it is apparent worker safety is of utmost importance to all who have responded...thank you.

    As I was speaking about earlier when I created this thread is this, people need to be focused at all hours of the day everyday, no matter what they are doing...fatalities/minor-injuries/serious-disabling injuries happen when people loose focus on what is going on around them, OR they have an attitude of "It won't/can't happen to me, I'm a tower climber, I'm bullet proof".

    I know it sounds good to "Say" you or a company does something when they sit in at NATE meetings or OSHA seminars but do they really do it when they are in the work world?

    I truly believe all the fatalities in which have happened in the past 3 years could have been prevented by using just a couple of different things.

    1-Ensure everyone who is climbing a structure is 100% tied off at all times -NO do we do this? Visit the sites employees are working on to ensure they are abiding by NATE/OSHA standards...never assume, it only leads to failure

    2-Training, in house or outsource training is very beneficial to anyone working in the field (Rigging, RF, FP&R, OSHA, Capstan, Aerial Lifts, Forklifts, Utility Knives, Defensive Driving etc) providing training for employees, it shows upper management actually cares about its employees which in turn (not right away) changes the way they (climbers) think about their role in the company...they feel more appreciated and have a greater drive to work safely all the time, not just when they feel like it. (I personally have seen this in the company I work for) it other thing we do at our company is have quarterly meetings with everyone from Corporate management to the "Green" guy...everyone is will change the way they think about work as well as home.

    Honestly, just because a climber possesses a "Climbing License" does not make him/her a safe many people are out there w/ Comtrain, Gravitec, DBI FP&R cards climbing unsafely everyday without ever being caught doing something wrong? Again, I encourage people to continue talking about this issue but I do not believe it is the answer to the problem.

    We as an industry need to change the way people think on the job...that is the only way we can get these incidents to stop...PEOPLE MUST CARE about what they are doing.
  6. bennettbike

    bennettbike Friend of the Community

    I had a company test and give me a ComTrain card and after calling ComTrain I learned the instructor was not he who taught me, with little research, my instructor had died 3 years earlier in a motorcycle accident. On top of that I was being issued a ComTrain card from a subcontractor that worked with my company. Gee...
  7. Jerome Levy

    Jerome Levy Industry Observer

    I think it was Wilcox who owns Comtrain who was talking about licensing climbers. But I think that it is more important that we start looking at train the trainer guys and the certificate that you're given. It is so easy to forge something like that. Becktel and others require it but they have no idea whether it is fraudulent. It is just a CYI.
  8. towertrash

    towertrash Friend of the Community

    It's a simple issue of the man in charge on site. I know that we, as foremen, can't watch them every single minute. It takes the guys up top to follow the rules. I like to scare them into being safe by showing them videos and stories of people who have died in the industry. It seems to work. I would rather that they move slower and take their time than get hurt.

    Plus safety in this industry will always be an issue. Reason being is that a lot of the guys/women think that because they work on towers it makes them "cooler" than the normal construction worker. Let me give you hint, it doesn't. It's only a job with a better view.

    In my 16 years in this industry I had 2 guys fall while on my crew. One was due to lack of experience and fear. His cable grab failed and fell 40' to the bottom of the safety climb.

    The other was high on drugs and tried to repel on a beaner and didn't tie the knot correctly. He didn't fare as well (110' up) but he did live. You can only tell your guys so many times to tie off. It's up to them. You can fire them and start the process all over with another guy.

    I guarantee the next guy will do the same. It's an ego thing that makes them think they will be ok. Most have the attitude of, "Oh, I'll be fine".

    I always tell my new guys this simple statement "If you don't care enough about your own life, care about the ones who love you. Care enough about the ones who have to watch you fall. That kind of thing sticks with you for life and it's not a very pleasant experience, I know. So tie off and be safe."

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