Tower Climbing Safety Equipment

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What powerline technicians must know to stay safe

BY JIM HUTTER, Capital Safety

Most of modern life is powered by electrical energy, which is why transmission tower work continues to be an integral—yet extremely dangerous—part of the power distribution industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that fall arrest or work positioning equipment must be used when working at elevated locations more than four feet (1.2 meters) above the ground on poles, towers, or similar structures if other fall protection has not been provided. There is an exception for “a qualified employee” climbing or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures unless dangerous working conditions exist (OSHA 1910.269(g)(2)(v)).

As a result, transmission tower workers can, and sometimes do, forego fall protection, jeopardizing their safety on the job. Unfortunately, falling from a transmission tower is no less devastating than a fall from a telecommunication tower or a wind turbine.

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