Climbing using Wire Type Fall-Arrest Systems: Why it’s the Method of the Future

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

The power industry has historically used free climbing to access its structures, but over the past decade full attachment has been adopted. This policy has been implemented on towers using “dual lanyards” but in doing so safety and productivity implications have emerged which are difficult to resolve. These include risk of tripping and entanglement, potentially large free fall distances, significant loss of productivity and poor user acceptance resulting in non compliance issues. These problems are widely recognised internationally, and consequently two significant alternative access options have emerged. One is the increasing use of high lift insulated EWP/bucket trucks. This is option is viable for some work especially for distribution, but its very expensive for transmission. The second viable option is to mount an alternative attachment system to the towers. Several international investigations have demonstrated that the best tower attachment solution involves the installation of permanent wire type fall arrest systems. With over 100,000 systems already installed on transmission line towers around the world, and extensive use in other industries such as off-shore oil rigs, wind turbine towers and high rise buildings, there is now very good evidence that wire attachment systems represent international best practice.

-Wal Marshall

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