Responsibility of Ladders & Cable Systems Part II of II: Climbing Towers by OSHA and ANSI A14.3 Standard

Responsibility for Towers without OSHA/ANSI Approved Ladder or Cable Systems Part II of II

I hope you all had a great and happy holiday and the new year is starting off well. Sorry for the delay and here is part II of our discussion on the responsibility of ladders and cable systems.

If a cell tower has ladder or cable system that is not OSHA/ANSI approved, whose responsibility is it, the tower owner or the contractor?

In a Planning Advisory Notice (PAN) covering the Safety Climb System, the Telecommunication Industry Registered Apprentice Program (TIRAP) states when a climber attaches his cable grab to the climbing system, it becomes part of his Fall Protection Plan as PPE, but it’s still the employer’s responsibility to inspect and maintain (http:/

If it’s the responsibility of the general contractor to climb a vertical cable system, what if the inspection sheet isn’t available prior to climbing? The contractor has acquired new PPE and has the responsibility of keeping their climber safe from risk of injury or death. 

Or should the tower owner be responsible? Are they requiring contractors to install only a cable without an OSHA/ANSI approved ladder and then say, “Not my responsibility if this isn’t installed correctly” because it is part of a climbers PPE?

As I’m sure you already know, all PPE equipment must be checked prior to climbing and an inspection sheet of the safety climb should be provided before any climber ever attaches their cable grab. They should know who installed it, the date of installation, and when the last inspection was performed if the contractor is to take FULL responsibility.  Understanding and knowledge of the standards and requirements for climbing a vertical cable system is essential in making sure everyone comes home to those they love and those that love them.  This includes the risk of assuming the climber is safe ascending with two points of contact. 

The lack of providing accessibility to communication towers because the burden of additional costs to maintain the OSHA/ANSI standards by the owners of the towers appears reckless, irresponsible, and should not be the responsibility of the subcontractor.

Until next time….

SS, aka the Desert Piranha