I enjoy your magazine, but the February issue cover has a safety item that you may want to look at. The top climber has two points of attachments, but the lower climber does not. ANSI standards require two points. He is using his work positioning lanyard as a life support.

Tom Hanson

Response from the contributor

ANSI standards require a climber to be tied in at all times while working aloft. Two points of attachment is not necessary until the climber uses a chain saw. While I agree that two points of attachment should be used whenever possible, the positioning lanyard is in fact a life support device subject to the same standards as climbing lines. Often, while climbing, a climber may have to be secured in only with the lanyard for short periods. Recrotching the climbing line is but one example. Moving up a spar and positioning one system above a limb or stub while secured to a second is another common one. I agree that using just a lanyard and spikes to ascend is not the preferred method. An overhead tie in point adds a great deal of safety and comfort while on spikes. However, ascending a spar with just spikes and a positioning lanyard does not violate ANSI Standards as long as the climber does not engage in any cutting activity. Of course there are many methods to ascend with two points of attachment while on spikes, and I highly recommend them and regularly train climbers in them. The photo depicts a typical aerial rescue scenario with a climber injured while working aloft. Hence, the two points of attachment for the top climber. The climber below is ascending to assist and “rescue” the victim. Training is most effective if it allows the participants to come as close to an actual situation as possible. Using only the positioning lanyard to ascend a short distance is just that. You’ll notice the “rescuer” has an approved and functional climbing system with him and is in the process of positioning himself to deploy it. As always we should practice low and slow.

Tony Tresselt,

ISA certified arborist and TCIA certified tree care safety professional