To Climb or Not To Climb

That is the question. At least one of them. Admittedly I am in sales/marketing/business development and not a climber or a trainer. However, I speak with climbers all over the country from various industries. Recently the conversation has been brought up repeatedly about climbing alone…

Tower Climbing

Photo by Jason Shivers, ©ARISTOTLE INC

A climber in California who would not identify himself called asking if OSHA mandates that he not climb alone, or that he must climb with a partner. I cited this to him:


The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.

The climber said he was afraid of disciplinary action from his supervisor that was telling him in no uncertain terms that he was expected to climb alone and that there was no OSHA rule stating otherwise. Despite our discussion, he hung up the phone telling me he was going to go climb alone.

Two weeks later I receive a call from a client asking about how and when we discuss the “climbing alone” issue in our training. I replied that it is discussed throughout the day, but stressed primarily around the importance of having a clear rescue plan in place. It is impossible to have a rescue plan if one is by yourself. He was asking because as he arrived to the job site that morning a climber who had arrived early at the job site had begun climbing and working before anyone else was there. Not only violating any training instruction we have performed, but also OSHA regulations and their own internal safety checklist to be filled out by every climber before climbing.

Safety is a vague concept to some people, only applying when they find it acceptable or convenient. Sadly, these people that willfully ignore rules, regulations and safety precautionary procedures are risking the lives of themselves and often others around them.

Please – be safe out there.

Kevin Carter


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