VIDEO: Stairway to Safety

VIDEO: Stairway to Safety

The Old Dangerous Video

A few years ago, a short video entitled “Stairway to Heaven,” was produced as (laughably so) an instructional video for climbing a communications structure. Flying in the face of accurate OSHA regulations and common sense, the tower technicians were free climbing while the narrator stated in regards to free climbing, “…it’s easier, faster and most tower workers climb this way. Free climbing is more dangerous, of course, but OSHA rules do allow for it.”  With disregard for safety, this irresponsible and negligent video has been seen by hundreds of thousands.

The Safer Way to Climb

We made this video for all of the climbers in the tower industry who believe in safety. Nick Bassarab and Todd Horning from Safety One Training International Inc. climb to the top of a 1700 foot tall tower to change light bulbs while using 100% attachment the whole time. Have a look and see how it is supposed to be done.


Climb Safe!

Kevin Carter

  • Ross Minnick
    Posted at 08:48h, 31 December Reply

    The Safety- One web site talks about setting up a temporary first man up system and says the climber must use double leg lanyards. I watch this video and see the climber using a lanyard as the safety device to keep him from falling. The lanyard is a fall restraint device. It is not a fall arrest device. Climbing with the double leg shock absorbing lanyards is just as dangerous as the climbing pegs are assumed to be the anchor point in a fall. Climbing this monopole antenna is a real challenge with just climbing pegs. I don’t believe either the lanyard or the double leg lanyard is the answer. Some type of strap needs to be secured around the mast as an anchor point, but it would need to be done multiple times as the climber climbs. Not a simple problem to solve. A rope lanyard around the waist of the climber is not the answer.

    • Todd horning
      Posted at 11:24h, 03 January Reply

      Dear Sir,

      You are correct in many of the items that you mention. Installing multiple straps around the pole and clipping in would be a secure method to attach, but would be very fatiguing in my opinion. There is also an immense amount of connections being made in that system thus having more room for error potential. I would like to clarify that it is not required to climb using fall arrest equipment specifically. It is required to have fall protection, and this can be achieved many ways. An appropriate fall restraint setup such as the one we used in the video can be a great way to ascend and descend this type of situation. I would like to ask you what you would attach to the strap once it is installed, I believe that you did not specify. Thanks for the post, Todd.

      • Ross Minnick
        Posted at 11:51h, 03 January Reply

        Todd, thank you for responding. This is a unique climbing situation. I am concerned with the use of a lanyard for fall protection and the fact that any fall would not be transferred to the back of the harness. Any fall with just the lanyard would be an impossible rescue on this pole and you would have to hope the lanyard doesn’t fall when impact loaded. Using a strap around the pole with a shock lanyard connected to the back D ring would take longer to climb, but the climber could stop and rest using the rope lanyard. I would rather be tired than fall off the structure and I would at least know I had a chance of rescue since I’m 100% tied off. Regards, Ross

  • Kevin Carter
    Posted at 18:45h, 23 December Reply

    Shawn –

    I will echo Todd’s response with a few comments of my own. I speak with safety managers, climbers, owners and our instructors on a regular basis about the various safety concerns in the industry.

    You said: “Sure, 100% attachment is the way to go if you’re going to fall.” If you are going to fall? How exactly do you know if you are going to fall or not, and to be attached when you do?

    You said: “you can free climb more rapidly AND more safely. ” So how exactly are you climbing more safely if you are not attached and able to fall at any time?

    Out of the 13 climbers who died this year, the majority of them were not attached. Would you like to explain to their loved ones how you encouraged them to free climb, because as you say “100% attachment is BS.”

    Or the technician who this summer was hit by a falling antenna, suffering a concussion, and most assuredly would have fallen to his death as well if we was not attached.

    Think again sir, you are sadly mistaken. This attitude is the cause of fatalities in the industry, not 100% tie off.

    Kevin Carter
    Director of Business Development’
    Safety One Training International Inc.

  • Todd Horning
    Posted at 18:07h, 23 December Reply

    Although using 100% techniques may be slightly more fatiguing, it is the safest way to climb. Falls from elevation off of towers are a proven hazard, as the death toll this year is up to 13 just in the telecommunications industry. Workers who enter confined spaces must monitor air, electrical workers must be trained in proper grounding, pilots must be trained in emergency situations, etc., the list goes on. Using 100% attachment for tower climbers should be viewed as a “necessary part of the job”. You don’t get to pick when your hand slips, your coworker drops a wrench, a bee stings your neck or you get a cramp at heights. It is much better to work safer than not.

    Todd Horning
    Director of Training
    Safety One Training International Inc.

  • Fred
    Posted at 15:43h, 23 December Reply

    Please provide reference to US OSHA standard requiring tie-off while climbing a fixed ladder.

    • Todd Horning
      Posted at 11:25h, 30 December Reply

      Fred –

      Here is the most direct one:

      “Ladder safety devices.” Ladder safety devices may be used on tower, water tank, and chimney ladders over 20 feet in unbroken length in lieu of cage protection. No landing platform is required in these cases. All ladder safety devices such as those that incorporate lifebelts, friction brakes, and sliding attachments shall meet the design requirements of the ladders which they serve.

      It can also be interpreted under the 4 foot General Industry rule and 6 foot Construction rule. Depends on company policies, site rules, etc.



  • Jhonny Tapia Alvarez
    Posted at 18:32h, 20 December Reply


  • Prefer freedom
    Posted at 12:16h, 20 December Reply

    You’ve exerted so much more energy by climbing in that manner, you become more likely to have an accident.

    Sure, 100% attachment is the way to go if you’re going to fall.

    I contend climbing in a responsible manner and knowing your limits, you can free climb more rapidly AND more safely. Stop and take breaks as needed an safety off, but 100% attachment is b/s that the safety industry and politicians mandated.

  • Jason
    Posted at 11:16h, 20 December Reply

    This one always irritated me too:

    Nice work!

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