It happens every so often – and more often than it should. A lineworker climbs a wood pole and the pole falls. With the advent of 100% fall protection, the climber is assured serious injury and often death if a pole falls while they are tied to it.
Several of these types of incidents have occurred in recent months. The first question is, why didn’t those poles get checked before anyone climbed them? The next question is, what can we do to prevent future falls?
Correct Depth is Key
First and foremost, correct depth is what keeps a pole in the air. Most companies have a specification that determines a pole’s installed depth based on its length. Another resource you can refer to is ANSI O5.1, “Wood Poles – Specifications and Dimensions.” Essentially, the taller a pole is, the deeper it needs to be buried in the ground to ensure it is stable. Across the industry, it is not uncommon for utilities to teach this rule of thumb: 10% of the pole height plus 2 feet.