Acrohphobes, take note: this post is about working at extreme heights!
We spotted a jaw dropping video in our Twitter feed the other day — an engineer climbing the spire at the top of the One World Trade Center, a dizzying 1,776 feet. It’s a promotional video for a fall protection firm called Rigid Lifelines. It led us to more dramatic video footage of the tower completion and an interesting case history behind the safety engineering challenge that the tower construction posed, which is depicted in a dedicated website, Safe at 1776.
“A symbolic reference to the year America signed the Declaration of Independence. With its spire attached, the new World Trade Center became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the third tallest building in the world. The 104-story super-scraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, occupying the location of what used to be the original 6 World Trade Center.”
“To ensure the safety of workers who will perform routine maintenance atop the massive tower, builders, engineers, and the Port Authority partnered with Rigid Lifelines to design and supply 1,975 linear feet of total fall protection track, and the highest self-retracting lanyards in an occupied building. Rigid Lifelines designed two systems for the One World Trade Center building–a horizontal system for the rings and a vertical system for the spire. Each system was specifically designed to ensure that workers have 100 percent fall protection from the moment they leave the top floor to the moment they touch the flashing beacon light.”
We’re heartened to see this commitment to worker safety – see our prior entry You Think Your Job is Tough, which includes footage of a worker “free climbing” a 1,768 foot Antenna Tower. And on a related note, The high price for fast phones: Cell tower deaths, a Frontline and Pro Publica investigative video about cell tower worker deaths in a small industry with a death rate that is about 10 times the rate of construction. Accountability is hindered by the complex web of subcontractors on these jobs, allowing large network sponsors to deflect responsibility for fatalities.
These prior posts may also may be of interest:
- Safety Nets, Hard-Boiled Hard Hats & The Halfway to Hell Club: Safety Innovations in the Golden Gate Bridge Construction
- NY scaffolding: one miracle survivor saved by physics; others not so lucky
- Dangerous jobs: window washing at extreme heights