5 Common Mistakes Found in Tower Work
Whether it be changing antennas and feed lines, fixing lighting, or simply doing maintenance on a cell tower, tower work involves constant attention to safety. Tower climbers can attest to how dangerous the job can be, and this danger only magnifies the importance of safety gear and carefully following procedures. Here are five common mistakes that people tend to make when doing tower work.
- PPE in Poor Condition:
Safety is one of the most important aspects of any tower job, which is why your gear should be a top priority. Has it been taken care of or has it incurred damage over the years? Most climbing personal protective equipment (PPE) must be inspected prior to every use, annually, and additionally as required by the manufacturer, usually by a trained competent person. This includes harnesses, connectors (lanyards, etc), and other fall protection PPE. Users must be trained how to inspect their gear prior to use as well as safely use their fall protection. Need a refresher? Find a hands-on equipment inspector class near you. Pro tip: Certified Slings & Supply® offers 3M Fall Protection Authorized Equipment Inspector classes that include a certificate of completion).
- Insufficient Climb Plan (or No Climb Plan at All!):
Planning is vital to any job, tower related or not. Care should always be taken to verify that work permits are acquired when needed, and the tower owners are aware of the date and time maintenance will take place. A good climb plan includes a good rescue plan.
- Lacking Training and Certification:
Climbing a tower isn’t as simple as climbing a ladder. There is a lot more at risk involved due to the great height. As new safety guidelines and techniques enter the field, the proper certifications and training are necessary with certain updates. While OSHA cannot endorse specific courses, make sure the training you choose covers OSHA guidelines in depth and involves climbing practice as well as classroom training.
- Ignoring RF Dangers:
When climbing a tower, a major concern is the danger of radio frequency (RF) radiation. If signs are placed along the ladder to indicate dangerously high levels of RF fields for human exposure, it is crucial to take the proper precautions necessary. Using an RF monitor is very helpful to understanding where the dangers are. If a tower does not have such signage, climbing it is not recommended until the severity of the RF fields can be assessed.
- Not Enough Gear:
There is no such thing as being too safe. Given the sheer size of most towers, hazardous conditions and weather are found at higher altitudes that are not discernable from the ground level—and it can get very cold up there. You should always be prepared and anticipate unexpected circumstances. Any climber should always have the proper equipment such as helmets, boots, jackets, and gloves along with their safety harness, carabiners, tool belts, and lanyards, though that is just a starting point. Make sure you think of fall protection not only for yourself, but for your tools. Fall protection for tools will keep your team and your tools safe from a dropped item (and save you time!).
Your Fall Protection Provider
With any climbing job comes a certain degree of risk. Fall protection products and training are crucial. The last thing you need is the wrong equipment. Our team at Certified Slings & Supply® can help you choose the right product to match your needs. Our main goal is to ensure the highest level of service and quality. Safe, dependable equipment and thorough, hands-on training provides industry professionals with the safety they deserve. For more information, call us at 1-800-486-5542, or visit our online catalog here on our site.