Alarming Video Raises NATE's Ire

A posted "Stairway to Heaven" video that shows two lighting techs free climbing a broadcast tower is "erroneous and dangerous," the National Association of Tower Erectors said in a statement issued Thursday.

The National Association of Tower Erectors issued a statement Thursday denouncing a posted video that suggested "free climbing" communication towers is both common and accepted by OSHA. NATE said the decision to post the video, shot with a helmet-mounted camera and showing two broadcast techs climbing a broadcast tower, was "misguided" and "its messages should not be given credence by any viewer."

Available at this site, the video is full of inaccuracies, added the statement of the non-profit trade association, which is based in Watertown, S.D. The site indicates the video was reposted several times on YouTube before being removed.

"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 statement said. "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."

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