Safety equipment is, needless to say, the difference between life and death or serious injury. Tower climbing is the most dangerous job in America, but using proper equipment can lower the risks dramatically. Keeping it in good order is of paramount importance.
The tips below are suggested methods and things to look for to make sure all your safety equipment able to keep you safe. As professionals, you know that what safety gear you use depends on the details of the environment in which you work.
Tower Climber Equipment Check
Safety harness – According to NATE standards these should be secured in a way that that will distribute fall arrest forces over the thighs, waist, pelvis, chest and shoulders. Safety belts can not be used for fall arrests.
Periodically, at least once or twice a months, they should be checked for cuts, rips and tears, electrical burns, rot and deterioration (both physical and UV), chemical damage and evidence of shock loading. Any harness that is suspected of these types of damages should be discarded immediately.
Lanyards/Positioning Straps – Each end of the lanyard needs to be securely snapped into a D ring of the full body harness. They need to be inspected for spring tension, no exposure of the inner layer, cracks, burns and corrosion, and no excessive side movement. Make sure the rivets aren’t loose or worn and that there is no chemical damage.
Carabineers – These are not the average carabineers found in tool store and retail outlets. First things first is to make sure the don’t have that infamous “not for climbing” stamped on them. Also, make sure they are rated for your weight.
Hardhats – The straps inside the hard hat should be 1” to 1.25” from the outside of the hard hat in order to protect from shock. It should fit securely, not too tight, but not able to wobble around.
Manufactures recommend hard hat replacement every five years, however, if they are exposed to a lot of sunlight, chemicals or heat then it’s recommended to replace them every two years. This guideline is important to follow because hardhats don’t show wear and tear like other pieces of equipment do. Needless to say hard hats with holes or dents should be discarded.
Vehicles – In order to keep vehicle safe from falling objects, they should be at least a half a towers length away from the climb site.
RF monitor – Making sure that they have a full charge just makes sense, they can’t work if the batteries don’t. They should be periodically checked to make sure they are reading RF waves correctly.
Radio – Just like the RF monitor, make sure that the batteries are charged and do quality checks on a couple different channels before climbing the tower.
Rope – Once or twice a month ropes should be check for wear and tear, fraying, and rot. The knots should especially be checked, if the rope has gotten wet, mold and mildew can hide under the knot, making it a hidden enemy.
Regardless of what your equipment is, it should be stored properly. Radios and RF monitors should be placed on their chargers. Ropes, harnesses, helmets, etc… should always be stored in a dark, cool, dry place. Riding around with them in the back of your truck can cause damage to your vital equipment.
Below is a link to the NATE approved checklist for all equipment: