1. #1
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    Default Who Dictates Safety Standards for Tower Rescue

    Tower rescue is a complex and evolving topic. Many ways to conduct tower rescues are about as plentiful as the many different towers themselves. I have taken numerous tower rescue courses, and have learned a tremendous amount on the subject (though truly only scratching the surface of a complex world). One area that is still gray to me is who governs or dictates any standards on tower climbing / access for rescue? Would it be OSHA, NATE, ANSI, or others? Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to be thorough, and I am going to be using this information gained to present an awareness level training to my department. Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squad1FF View Post
    One area that is still gray to me is who governs or dictates any standards on tower climbing / access for rescue? Would it be OSHA, NATE, ANSI, or others? Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to be thorough, and I am going to be using this information gained to present an awareness level training to my department. Thanks in advance.
    Good morning Squad 1. It may not be the answer you want but ultimately, you are the one setting and enforcing the standards for tower rescue in your response area. OSHA has a standard on ladders which includes safe climbing and ANSI has a fall protection standard. The NFPA and ASTM have standards on rope rescue but they do not dictate techniques or equipment to be used.

    There are a lot of safe ways to do a tower rescue and a few that aren't so safe. Depending on which state you live in OSHA may or may not be the governing body. If you are in an OSHA state like South Carolina (meaning the state has its own OSHA plan) fire departments can be cited for things they do. If you are in a non-OSHA state like me here in Louisiana only industry falls under the OSHA regulations. There are 25 non-OSHA states. Even in an OSHA state, they will be an after-the-fact agency. If you have an incident that injures several people or results in a fatality then OSHA will come in and fine you for what they say you did wrong.

    The best thing to do, and it sounds like you already are, is to get the proper training, pre-plan the towers in your response area, test the plan with your team and keep everybody safe.

    Mike Dunn

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    I agree with Mike, sounds like you are taking the right step forward. There are probably a mix of standards that apply but not much in the way of rescue. NATE has set standards for those who work on towers, which including authorized climber, competent climber and competent rescuer. It is part of the NATE CTS - Climber Training Standard. I would encourage fire departments to send a couple of guys to such programs to learn what these guys who work on towers every day learn. In the end you will complete the course, but are not likely to get NATE certification unless you have worked 90 documented days on towers. They recognize that you need experience, not just training to get their certifications.

    Also, make sure you don't leave out hazards on and around towers, such as RF and hazard zones etc.

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    Look into SPRAT, we do tower climbing all the time and have to provide our own rescue plan (be it self rescue, or team). I don't want to come off as a basher of tower programs for tower workers, but they have one of the worst safety records for work at height.

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    I agree to get SPRAT training, going for my L2 next month. But still getting the training and info from the tower industry can help. Some companies who own towers won't accept SPRAT cert own its own. I know NATE has tried to roll out some of this to help increase tower safety, but I really have to wonder when looking at safety accidents how much training some of those guys were given.

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    This is a big problem in the tower industry. Companies are still prehistoric with their mind set on safety and training. They look at the cost to have proper trained personnel and what it cost to train the ones that they have that are not only. On top of this a lot of them hire any low wage excepting person that comes along.

    In fairness though, there are tower companies that are very strict with safety and are not SPRAT/IRATA certed. Pay well too, just very very few of them. Down side for them is it takes longer for them to get up and going do to their cost of business being hire.

    As for training in the station is concerned. I fully believe that is your rope rescue/climbing program in the department makes a good attempt to not just look toward NFPA 1006 as how to do all rescue, and you all cross train using other climbing fields proven methods then towers wont even be much of a thought (for the exception of knowing what some of the equipment on the tower is). Look into aid climbing techniques and proper belaying of an aid climber. That is a big skill not taught in 1006 that I think should be. If it is currently then I take that back, cant say I have sat in a 1006 class in the past year. Aiding a tower is a norm when you are away from the ladder. Saying you have a jumper, that person most likely wont stay by a ladder on the tower to make it easy for a rescue team.

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