Transmission Towers: Fall Prevention & Safety

Installed, engineered systems offer best-in-class protection

The rules of safety for electric power line work have changed dramatically. Gone, for example, are the days of free climbing. And for good reason: Utility work is a hazardous profession that can result in serious injury or even electrocution.

New and revised OSHA fall and arc-flash protection standards, and electrical personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, however, are giving utilities the impetus to rethink their worker safety strategies – top to bottom.

“The notion of fall protection is not new, of course,” says Jason Fox, segment marketing manager for MSA, The Safety Company. “Utilities use harnesses lanyards and anchors points here, there and everywhere to help ensure worker safety. Now, however, utilities are moving toward a total solution, combining traditional harnesses, lanyards and arc flash-rated PPE with professionally engineered vertical lifeline systems.”

Vertical Lifelines

MSA - TowerLatch Vertical Cable SystemA vertical lifeline system like MSA Latchways® cable-based solutions allows workers in generation plants and substations, and in transmission and distribution to operate quickly, effectively and safely at height. MSA’s vertical system feels like free climbing – yet with 100 percent tie-off.

Here’s how it works:

Using a stainless steel cable installed along the tower’s climbing pegs, MSA Latchways® TowerLatch™ System lets workers lock on at the base of the tower and travel hands-free up and down the height of the tower. The fixed intermediates prevent wind damage to the cable and allow pass-through operation with no interference at all. It incorporates a built-in energy-absorbing pack to reduce load in the event of a fall for multiple climbers, and it features inherent flexibility to be configured for use on virtually any transmission tower – even with changes of direction.

“It locks on as if their life depends on it, because it does,” says Fox. “With TowerLatch™, the tower becomes the anchor point and connection to the whole cable system. Utility and construction workers can go up, up, up, yet if they slip, the system’s cam reverses and catches them until they regain footing. Only then does it release and let the worker resume travel in the direction of their choice, up or down.”

Engineered Systems

Unlike bolt-on kits, TowerLatch™ is engineering and installed by professional engineering firms.

“The system,” explains Fox, “is for your towers, your needs. We prepare a unique system specification for each type of structure and then work with a trained and registered installer. Our system works for both new builds and retrofits, and more than 2,000 different types of towers already have one of our systems installed.”

Other features include:

  • Unobtrusive and lightweight design.
  • Quality materials and durable components.
  • Reliability in adverse weather conditions, including rain, sleet, snow and ice.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Patented, built-in energy absorber.
  • Ability to attach or detach at any point in the system.

Added Protection

As the global leader in fall protection, MSA offers arc flash rated fall protection products such as full-body harnesses and energy-absorbing and self-retracting lanyards for utility industry needs, making it a unique, best-in-class safety.

MSA’s total fall protection solutions help utility workers safely perform their daily maintenance and repair duties, as well as protect contractors tasked with building new infrastructure for utility firms.

Other fall protection products and restraint systems include:

  • Durable, comfortable EVOTECH® Arc Flash Harness
  • Flame-resistant, no-slip Gravity® Harness
  • Lightweight, portable XTIRPA System for Confined Space Entry
  • Self-activated Personal Rescue Device® (PRD)
  • WinGrip® Vacuum Anchor System
  • Energy-absorbing ArcSafe® Lanyard
  • Patented, force-limiting Constant Force® Post for Rooftops
  • Protective, arc flash-rated head, eye and face PPE


Download the MSA Latchways® Products & Solutions for the Utility Industry brochure at:

Visit to learn more about cable-based fall arrest systems.

MSA is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality, life-saving products designed to protect even in the most hazardous of conditions. For more information or to schedule a free safety evaluation, please visit or call 877-672-2222.

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