|Tying off is only valuable if it is performed correctly, not as practiced by a Florida tower crew
December 4, 2012 - Idioms such as Tie off or fly off and If you are hooked off you can't fall off are industry catchphrases that have focused upon workers' needs to stay 100% tied off on towers or other structures, but their simplicity could be misleading.
As this photograph shows, three crew members working in Bartow, Fla. for a major carrier on a major tower owner's structure last week should be partly commended for tying off.
The commendation, however, must be accompanied with a failing grade for how they were trained and/or an admonishment for how they are allowed to do it.
The tower technician standing on the mounting frame on the left (click here for enlarged photos) displays a number of safety issues. Although his fall protection lanyard is the maximum allowable length of six feet, he has added what appears to be an additional four-foot, possibly longer, lanyard to reach the antennas.
That violation is compounded by wrapping it around the top of a clamp set which has the potential to cut the sling in the event of a fall when it is impact loaded, according to John Paul Jones, Vice President of Training for Safety LMS.
Although he couldn't identify if it was an appropriate life safety sling, he noted that the choked connection de-rated the sling's capacity by at least 25 percent.
Because he is standing on the mounting frame, the technician could possibly fall approximately 26 feet, landing on the sector mount below.
His co-worker, standing behind the waveguide ladder, has his fall arrest lanyard connected to a six-foot nylon positioning lanyard which is choked back around the horizontal angle brace which could cut it upon a fall.
The other end is connected to the large hook on the end of one leg of the tech's fall arrest lanyard.
This is an incompatible connection, said Jones, and increases the total fall distance.
The technician working to his right has one leg of his positioning lanyard wrapped in a choked configuration around his tie off point. His fall arrest lanyard is connected to the tower leg which is not visible but it might be presumed that he shares the same bad habits as his crew members.
It would be too dangerous for a tower crew to stage these serious infractions, but sometimes life imitates the art of providing a poster perfect tailgate session.
The Florida contractor was notified by WirelessEstimator.com about these safety violations.