Highest ever?

15 April 2008

Is this Fraco ACT mast climber on a 1000 ft (305 m) high power station chimney in West Virginia, US the highest mast climber ever built?

The installation – used by Pullman Power, a subsidiary of the Structural Group, to inspect the stack – was supervised and planned by Bobby Reece of Atlanta–based Mastclimbers Inc.

Mr Reece says there was a whole different set of considerations when you built this high; “The travel time to the top is 30 minutes. Although you might think it has an impact on productivity, it's not the case. It's far outweighed by the flexibility of the product, and the benefits to be gained in getting people and tools/materials into exactly the right position.

“The main consideration is safety. If someone is ill on the platform it could take a long time to get them to the ground. And, at a thousand feet, if the unit breaks down, it's not as if you can bring in a boom lift to assist in the rescue!”

A second drive unit was attached to the mast so that if the main unit broke sown, the platform could still get down. The unit also carried first aid equipment just in case.

“Comprehensive risk assessment is vital when planning a job of this scale”, says Mr Reece, “and it's a lot of hard work. But it's worth it when you take the ride to the top, the view is incredible!”

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