When exposed to outdoor elements, tower climbing equipment and safety gear loses effectiveness. From helmets to harnesses, recognizing the signs and risk factors of environmental damage is key to both avoiding impairment and minimizing the overall impact on each tower operation.
Top Causes of Tower Equipment Damage
In the July/August 2020 issue of Tower Times, the Planning Advisory Notice detailed a 2017 study on the effects of environmental exposure on harnesses, helmets, ropes, and slings. The four main causes of environmental degradation listed in the study were:
- Wind — High winds and even mild breezes can introduce dirt, dust, and other debris to equipment.
- Temperature — Conditions of extreme heat or cold are the most detrimental.
- Precipitation — Rain, sleet, snow, and other forms of precipitation diminish equipment strength.
- UV radiation — UV exposure reduces elasticity, flexibility, and strength in tower climbing equipment.
According to the study, these environmental factors created a variety of detrimental effects. Over the course of a year, it revealed that nylon webbing exposed to these elements experienced a 27.7% loss in strength. Similarly, hardware such as buckles and clasps were subject to corrosion and rust as a result of prolonged exposure to natural causes.
Identifying Signs of Environmental Exposure
Mitigating damage to equipment from environmental exposure requires careful, diligent inspections before each use. Prior to conducting a tower climb, equipment should be inspected for the following deficiencies:
- Corrosion, pitting, rust, cracks, or breaks
- Fraying, loosened/pulled threads, or cuts on the protective equipment
- Color fading, harness stiffness, or lack of pliability
Make sure any piece of equipment found with damage from environmental exposure, such as those listed above or other issues, is kept out of service.
Protect Your Tower Clients from the Elements
Age, frequency of use, and the environment all play a part in tower equipment degradation. While you cannot control the elements, you do have control over your risk management and obtaining the best insurance coverage possible for your tower operation. At USA Telecom Insurance Services, we are available to assist you with securing and delivering top-of-the-line insurance. Our agents write all lines of coverage to insure the diverse needs of companies in the tower industry.
Contact us today to speak directly with an agent and learn more about our approach to telecom insurance.