Where do workers get the idea that it’s OK not to use safety gear for hazardous jobs? Is one source online videos?
TheOnlineEngineer.org recently posted a video online that was meant to show a workday in the life of a tower technician equipped with a helmetcam.
Now the website has removed the video after an outcry over a scene that showed so-called “free climbing” — no safety lines are used by the tower climber.
The voice-over on the video implies that free climbing is OK: “It’s easier, faster, and most tower workers climb this way … Free climbing is dangerous, of course, but OSHA rules do allow for it. Attaching, climbing, attaching and removing safety lines every few feet slows progress and is tiring.”
Jim Coleman, chairman of the National Association of Tower Erectors, told the website Wireless Estimator (WE) he was “unaware of any guidance by OSHA that allows for free climbing as an acceptable method of accessing elevated work.”
After complaints, TheOnlineEngineer.org removed the video from its website and from YouTube where it had gone viral, but it’s still available elsewhere.
WE features a “Tower Climbers Hall of Shame” featuring videos of free climbers. The website reports seven fatalities already this year due to falls from towers. The highest number of fatalities occurred in 2006 when 18 people died in tower incidents.
Whether employees see other workers doing unsafe things online or in person, it has the potential to create this excuse: “Joe/Sue does it and has never been hurt.” How do you counter that argument? What do you think about the online free climbing video? Let us know in the Comments Box below.