NATE Denounces Free-climb Video

WATERTOWN, S.D.: The Association of National Tower Erectors issued a statement today regarding a video of free-climbing tower technicians. (See “Broadcast Tower Repairman’s Free Climb Captured on Video.”)

“NATE would like to publicly denounce the message of the recently posted video depicting two men climbing a broadcast tower. NATE asserts that the posting of the content was misguided and its messages should not be given credence by any viewer.

The “Stairway to Heaven” video, reportedly launched by, suggests that free climbing is an accepted method of ascending and descending broadcast and telecommunication towers. The video incorrectly asserts that free climbing is accepted by OSHA and that ‘most tower workers climb this way.’ The video also depicts as standard procedure other dangerous and prohibited conduct not condoned by NATE or OSHA. There are many inaccuracies in this video.

“NATE’s efforts to establish a culture of safety in the wireless and broadcast tower industry encourages everyone involved with tower work to adhere to recognized safe practices. The video in question is an example of a climber who is either unaware of recognized safety practices or is unwilling to take the time to protect his life and the life of his co-worker in the video. By extension, it encourages others to employ unsafe climbing techniques not endorsed by either OSHA or NATE. Contractors who refuse to operate safely should never be hired. This video is one more example of why the efforts of NATE, our membership and industry partners are imperative.

“NATE, the industry’s leader in tower safety, continues to pursue working relationships with carriers, broadcasters and other tower owner/operators to ensure that only qualified contractors set foot on tower sites. The Association has worked with OSHA to develop safety best practices and educational programs to ensure every tower worker goes home safely every day. Companies which allow free climbing and other violations of recognized safety practices are placing lives in danger and jeopardize tower work services.

“NATE is looking forward to OSHA’s statement clarifying this matter for the industry.

“Employers who allow such practices will likely cut corners on other aspects of their work. NATE asks, ‘If a company or employee will cut corners with the lives of its workers, on what other aspects of work will they be willing to cut corners?’ Owners and operators who hire this type of contractor are opening themselves up to legal and regulatory actions and are additionally running the risk of system malfunctions, adding unnecessary costs on top of endangering lives.

“NATE is requesting contact from carriers, broadcasters and other entities who own, operate or control wireless and broadcast towers as well as the industry groups who represent them. NATE is doggedly pursuing working relationships with these organizations to ensure that a culture of safety exists throughout the industry and that only qualified contractors set foot on tower sites. If your organization fits this description, please contact Patrick Howey at 888.882.5865 or via e-mail at patrick(@)