NATE on Weather Extremes and Tower Tech Safety

Organization urges '100 percent tie-off'
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WATERTOWN, S.D.— In the run-up to the U.S. TV spectrum repack, the National Association of Tower Erectors released a video on the impact of weather conditions on tower techs as part of it’s 2016 Climber Connection campaign. The repack, which could start sometime next year, is expected to put pressure on tower crews. (See “Repack Faces Tower Crew Shortage,” Dec. 28, 2015.) Tower fatalities spike in 2006, when crews faced the digital TV transition deadline, according to the Wireless Estimator tower fatality tracker.

More recently, the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill added to the tower industry workload with regulations requiring that “covered towers” to be “clearly marked,” according to Ashley Ludlow of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth.

“Buried deep in its legislative bowels is Sec. 2110, a little-publicized provision that could have serious repercussions on small tower owners, particularly those in rural areas,” she wrote.

The NATE video appears to employ drone footage of techs working on tall steel, while tower tech Brent Jarvis explains the dangers of extreme heat and cold on tower-climbing personnel.

“Heat stress is the number one weather-related killer in the United States,” he said. “Heat and cold injuries are 100 percent preventable.”

NATE is a non-profit organization dedicated to the safety of its membership. It previously published a YouTube video stressing the importance of “100 percent tie-off,” a reference to the ropes and safety harnesses used to tether climbers to a tower. In it, Don Doty, a tower industry veteran, emphasized that the “centerpiece of federal regulations regarding fall protection is 100 percent tie-off, all the time, when above the six-foot level.”