Author Topic: Never in a million years…  (Read 61208 times)

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #50 on: June 08, 2012, 12:48:25 pm »
Video, not photo, but sent to me yesterday:

http://www.liveleak.com/e/07b_1284580365

(Comms engineer with headcam climbs comms tower with no safety harness.  There doesn't appear to be an emoticon here for ring-clenching terror).

I forgot to go back and look at this one at the time, as it was blocked at work, but I have now... However much they pay that guy, its not enough.  Not even if you paid me £10million, I just could not do it.  I feel slightly sick, and I looked away a few times... my heart rate is not healthy right now, and I need a drink.

Wombat, that is staggering.  I found myself thinking, "Please let him be at the top now!".  It's the act of faith the gets me as much as the height.  I'd be thinking, "Am I going to grasp a Monday-morning spike and have it come away in my hand?" or "What if there's a peregrine falcon waiting to put my eye out over the next ledge?".  That's assuming I got above thirty feet, which I wouldn't.

Also, why were they protecting the second guy's anonymity?  Was it a flash-climb?  Most people would be watching through their fingers anyway!

Jacomus

  • My favourite gender neutral pronoun is comrade
Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2012, 12:54:06 pm »
Video, not photo, but sent to me yesterday:

http://www.liveleak.com/e/07b_1284580365

(Comms engineer with headcam climbs comms tower with no safety harness.  There doesn't appear to be an emoticon here for ring-clenching terror).

I forgot to go back and look at this one at the time, as it was blocked at work, but I have now... However much they pay that guy, its not enough.  Not even if you paid me £10million, I just could not do it.  I feel slightly sick, and I looked away a few times... my heart rate is not healthy right now, and I need a drink.

Wombat, that is staggering.  I found myself thinking, "Please let him be at the top now!".  It's the act of faith the gets me as much as the height.  I'd be thinking, "Am I going to grasp a Monday-morning spike and have it come away in my hand?" or "What if there's a peregrine falcon waiting to put my eye out over the next ledge?".  That's assuming I got above thirty feet, which I wouldn't.

Also, why were they protecting the second guy's anonymity?  Was it a flash-climb?  Most people would be watching through their fingers anyway!

No, they were engineers, however it was said that they feared for their jobs should their identities be revealed because they were not allowed to film it.
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." Amelia Earhart

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2012, 01:07:26 pm »
Worried about their jobs?  You mean they could easily be replaced?!

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #53 on: June 08, 2012, 01:11:13 pm »
Oddly enough, there are loads of people who would like to do that sort of work. Mostly from rock climbing community.

Once you are working more than a few hundred feet up, you are dead if you fall.

Not sure I'd go for the no harness thing, myself (not that I have a head for heights).
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #54 on: June 08, 2012, 01:32:15 pm »
The reason why he doesn't use lanyards while climbing the mast is because of the time involved: at each step he'd have to move one or both of the lanyards. This would mean taking four times as long getting to the top and arriving there four times as tired, which would have its own safety implications. The only way the climber is going to fall is if he gets tired and loses concentration, so what he's doing is a reasonable trade-off.

Panoramix

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #55 on: June 08, 2012, 01:43:12 pm »
The reason why he doesn't use lanyards while climbing the mast is because of the time involved: at each step he'd have to move one or both of the lanyards. This would mean taking four times as long getting to the top and arriving there four times as tired, which would have its own safety implications. The only way the climber is going to fall is if he gets tired and loses concentration, so what he's doing is a reasonable trade-off.

Yes but they could install vertical cables to which he could clip his life line with some sort of fall arrester carabiner. That could even be used to suppoert the tool bag. With a bit of ingenuosity there is often a workable solution to these kind of issues.

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #56 on: June 08, 2012, 01:59:11 pm »
Yes but they could install vertical cables to which he could clip his life line with some sort of fall arrester carabiner. That could even be used to suppoert the tool bag. With a bit of ingenuosity there is often a workable solution to these kind of issues.

You could now, but most of these structures have been around a long time, so such mods would be time consuming and expensive to install.  Only very occasionally is this sort of access needed, so as has been said, it's probably considered a reasonable compromise between speed and safety.

Oddly enough, with these sort of supposedly dangerous environments, the overall level of safety is often better than with more safety features added.  When you're doing something which is fundamentally dangerous like this, people are very careful, and this extends into elements not directly involved with what appears to be the dangerous stuff.  When live working on high-tension cables became more common (workmen wearing Faraday suits and so forth), they found that the overall level of accidents in this workplace dropped, because they became more careful about everything they did, not just the HT related stuff.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

jogler

  • mojo operandi
Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2012, 04:00:22 pm »
When I was last in hospital being shunted between cardiac & neurology,approx 10 years ago, I also spent some time on an orthopedic ward where I was adjacent to a bloke who had fell from a great height whilst working on a telecomms mast.
He had broken both arms & legs,ribs,had skull fracture & spinal damage.He was in for a long long long spell while they rebuilt him.
He was the most upbeat & positive chap I've ever met.He really did have that glad-to-be-alive attitude.

Panoramix

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2012, 04:14:56 pm »
You could now, but most of these structures have been around a long time, so such mods would be time consuming and expensive to install. 

It depends how much you value people lifes and anyway avoiding one fall is probably enough to justify the cost of fitting cables. H&S is a fine balance to find between prohibiting everything and seeing people loose their lives. Considering the cost of a mast like this, I don't think that a cable is an unreasonable expectation.

Even if you look at it from a pure business perspective, loosing people is more expensive than being on the cautious side. I was working for a company which lost an employee who was working in a (slightly?) questionable manner and it costed them dear in term of PI and hassle from HSE. I wouldn't like to be in front of a judge explaining why the company decided that it was OK to work without fall arrest. The fact that they aren't allowed to film tells a lot about their managers mindset.

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #59 on: June 08, 2012, 04:27:04 pm »
Pan, you are assuming that these people work for a large organisation.

They don't.

The 'no filming' bit was because they are contractors and were worried they would lose work if potential customers thought they were pratting about with cameras up the masts.

<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2012, 04:28:29 pm »
It depends how much you value people lifes ...

You always have to value life at some arbitrary value.  In this sort of scenario, it's potentially what it would cost you to rectify things at speed, and pay for a court case, and potential fine, in the case of a death, which could be a quite substantial amount of money.

(I think a fatality in a UK road incident is estimated to costs an average of around a million pounds, I would expect a higher figure for a fatality in this sort of case, largely because of it's relative unusualness).

Ultimately you always have to make some sort of judgement call on what is an adequate degree of safety.  I think with this case most of us would consider that climbing that sort of structure with no sort of fall arresting mechanism whatsoever is beyond that point, but I presume the gentleman in question didn't.

As I recall, and it was some time ago I looked this up, he was (is?) an independent contractor, so presumably working for the company that manages the mast, and left as being responsible for his own safety.  Now, strictly speaking in this sort of case, you can't say that it was entirely up to him to use an appropriate level of safety, and I'm pretty sure any court would find the management company at least partially liable in this case of a serious injury (or more likely fatality), regardless of the fact that the chap was working independently of their own management structures.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Jaded

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #61 on: June 08, 2012, 04:38:44 pm »
Give him a wire for the job and then let him kill himself on the way home on the motorway.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2012, 05:55:44 pm »
I didn't find it that bad.  There are lots of things to hold onto and I assume they don't do it if it's in the least bit windy.  If you climb a biggish tree you're still likely to die if you fall off, and that has slippy branches which are definitely not designed with climbing in mind, and no option to hook yourself on for a breather.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #63 on: June 08, 2012, 08:15:51 pm »
I didn't find it that bad.  There are lots of things to hold onto and I assume they don't do it if it's in the least bit windy.  If you climb a biggish tree you're still likely to die if you fall off, and that has slippy branches which are definitely not designed with climbing in mind, and no option to hook yourself on for a breather.

Roger, I think I'd find it harder than a tree.  I agree that after a certain height you are going to die anyway if you fall, but  you have so much longer for this to be the case on a massive climb.  These chaps were in deadly danger for a LONG time.

Jaded

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #64 on: June 08, 2012, 11:11:52 pm »
To be fair, Peter, we are all in deadly danger for 100% of our lives.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #65 on: June 08, 2012, 11:18:41 pm »
JD, some deadly dangers are deadlier than others, as I know you know.  Working out the degrees is why actuaries are so well paid!

Jaded

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #66 on: June 08, 2012, 11:33:35 pm »
Yeah, I know. But in my case no one would have thought of the deadly danger and the actuaries would have been wrong. On balance (apart from my fear of heights  ;D ) I'd have been better off up that tower without a cable. My crash was going to happen, it was just a case of when...
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #67 on: June 09, 2012, 01:27:41 pm »
  These chaps were in deadly danger for a LONG time.
I take it you didn't listen to the audio?

Elevator to 1600 feet. Free climb for remaining 176ft.

They took a lot of breaks - presumably that's a professional thing rather than reflecting how quickly they tired.

The bit that really freaked me was when the first chap stood on the top - then let go with both hands while he untangled his clip-in strap.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Panoramix

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2012, 02:55:23 pm »
Yeah, I know. But in my case no one would have thought of the deadly danger and the actuaries would have been wrong. On balance (apart from my fear of heights  ;D ) I'd have been better off up that tower without a cable. My crash was going to happen, it was just a case of when...

Not really, safety is a case of attitude more than anything else and some people/organisations will have fall arrest provisions/bolts tightened others won't. Many trains will roll on a poorly secured rail, many technicians will get to the top of a transmission mast without proper fall arrest but if you think that trains shouldn't derail and people shouldn't fall from height, you need to have the right attitude as you can be sure that at some point murphy law will apply if you don't.

In a fisherman village close to St Malo there is a shrine that was built late 19th century to thank the virgin Mary for bringing back home everybody from Newfoundland at the end of the fishing season. So basically, the expectation was that men would be lost. At the time skippers would think that it was a good economy to minimise the number of maps brought onboard, dories would be sent out on a foggy day, meanwhile ocean liners were crossing the fishing zone full steam ahead with no visibility and eventually men would be lost at sea. When the inevitable accident was eventually happening, bad luck was invoked. Nowadays we have higher safety expectations and serioulsy I don't think that the owner of this transmission mast has a much better attitude than armators of fishing boats had a century ago.

David Martin

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #69 on: June 10, 2012, 03:16:02 pm »
The systems would need to be retrofitted.
Your presumption is that fall arrest installations (eg cables) would survive in a workable condition, the risks of inspection and maintenance would be lower than the risk of not having any such system for the very few  times a technician needs to go up there.


"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Salvatore

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #70 on: June 16, 2012, 06:42:44 am »
Niagara Falls tightrope walk

Nik Wallenda. Without too much trouble you can find a video of his great-grandfather falling to his death.

Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #71 on: June 16, 2012, 09:51:36 am »
Interestingly, he was forced to wear a safety harness on that crossing, by ABC, who had paid for a fair amount of the setup.  Presumably they thought having someone die live on air would be bad coverage (although it does occur to me that the possibility would probably have increased their viewing figures).

He appears to have had continuous wireless comms during the event, and it looks like there's a remotely controlled camera on a parallel wire, in some of the photos.  That's slightly more technically advanced coverage than I suspect was ever done in the past, when people previously attempted to cross.

Apparently the authorities have said that they won't allow this sort of event more often than once every twenty years, so don't hold you breath waiting for someone else to attempt it!
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Panoramix

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #72 on: June 16, 2012, 11:33:10 am »
The systems would need to be retrofitted.
Your presumption is that fall arrest installations (eg cables) would survive in a workable condition, the risks of inspection and maintenance would be lower than the risk of not having any such system for the very few  times a technician needs to go up there.

That's a bit academic, if the risk of inspection is higher than the risk of climbing with no fall arrest, something is wrong. IRL you just make sure that anything you do is as safe as reasonably possible, inspections can be made by people climbing.

Panoramix

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Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #73 on: June 16, 2012, 11:37:25 am »


Take a deep breath and hold tight!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Never in a million years…
« Reply #74 on: June 16, 2012, 12:36:29 pm »
The systems would need to be retrofitted.
Your presumption is that fall arrest installations (eg cables) would survive in a workable condition, the risks of inspection and maintenance would be lower than the risk of not having any such system for the very few  times a technician needs to go up there.

That's a bit academic, if the risk of inspection is higher than the risk of climbing with no fall arrest, something is wrong. IRL you just make sure that anything you do is as safe as reasonably possible, inspections can be made by people climbing.

People tend not to climb up these things without very good reason.  They have to switch the transmitters off first (the radiated power levels are hazardous up close and personal), and that's something you tend to avoid doing during the daytime for prolonged periods if at all possible.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...