The view over the Traunstein mountain does not bode well. Dark clouds hang over the peaks of the Upper Austrian Prealps and herald the start of a summer storm with a grumble. "The weather can turn quickly here in the mountains. During this phase of construction, the support structure must be properly secured so that the tower remains stable," explains Christian Ortner, Carpenter and Site Manager at Wiehag GmbH. For him, the sudden change in weather is one of many challenges that comes with working in this area. His construction site is the Grünberg mountain, the smaller, forest-covered brother of the rugged Traunstein, which is used as preparation for summiteers these days. Erlebnis Akademie AG, which specialises in nature-friendly treetop walkway concepts in Europe, is creating a natural experience here with new perspectives. The Salzkammergut treetop walkway, on which you can stroll 1,400 metres through the treetops until the viewing tower above the forest leads you to a breath-taking view of the landscape. The construction of the tower was undertaken by Wiehag GmbH, who know their way around such projects thanks to their extraordinary wood construction feats on an international level. "With nine viewing towers, we are now experts. No two towers are the same. For me personally, this will be the third tower that I have built," explains Christian Ortner proudly.

Construction site that feels like you are on top of the world

There is little time left to construct the tower, which consists of 80 percent weather-resistant wood such as larch and Douglas fir, is 39 metres high, and is expected to bear the weight of up to 200,000 visitors each year. The project has been ongoing for four weeks, and the construction plan specifies that only another four weeks remain. Yet the carpenter is keeping a calm head, with regard to both the schedule and carrying out his work at such a great height. "We are a well-coordinated team when it comes to taking on such projects," he says, and provides further instructions. A heavy goods vehicle has slogged up the mountain and the material needs to be unloaded. "The giant support structures are manufactured in advance and assembled on site. We work with oversized ratchets, but we also use cordless tools. Safety is key here because you do not always have optimum stability when working at heights. Harnesses on the lifting platforms help to prevent us from falling. And the cordless tool is used to protect against kickback or vibrations."

Occupational health and safety with vision

Combi drill, angle grinder, hand-held circular saw, reciprocating saw – Christian Ortner's carpentry team uses an extremely wide range of cordless tools for their woodworking. With professional power tools from Bosch, they are able to draw upon an extensive system in order to work efficiently and safely. The spectrum ranges from solutions which immediately minimise the risk of injury to solutions which protect against long-term health risks. For example, the sensor-based KickBack Control function, which comes with the GSR 18V-60 FC Professional cordless drill/driver, offers immediate protection. If the drill becomes jammed, the integrated sensor detects the sudden blockage and switches off the motor within a fraction of a second. "When you are working at heights of 40 metres, there must never be any situation in which you lose control. The recoil protection provides peace of mind," says the Site Manager. For screwdriving and drilling work in difficult-to-reach areas, he can also be extremely flexible with the 18V cordless drill/driver. "Thanks to the FlexiClick adapters, I can use it to screwdrive around corners and very close to edges, or I can use it as a rotary hammer," explains Christian Ortner.

Reaching the summit in terms of safety

The approaching storm puts the workers under more pressure. Before wind and rain reach the tower, several steel connections that absorb the forces from the support structure still need to be installed. In between, Christian Ortner constantly has to measure and re-measure. "Building the tower is precision work. Its bridge is screwed in like a rising spiral. Everything has to fit together. This is the only way that the circle will be formed at the top," he says, before the lifting platform brings him back down. Once down, he changes the tool to a GWS 18V-10 SC Professional cordless angle grinder and trims armouring iron that protrudes from the foundations.

"Optimum control also increases the protection here," says the Site Manager, who goes on to talk about the braking function offered by the cordless angle grinder. "If a tool takes a long time to come to a complete stop, the risk of injury is higher. With the braking function, the cutting disc comes to a complete stop within seconds," he explains, using the GKS 18V-57 G Professional cordless hand-held circular saw to demonstrate this protective function.

The carpenters use this to trim handrails and floorboards or to cut longer workpieces precisely using a guide rail. For thicker beams, the GSA 18V-32 Professional cordless reciprocating saw is a permanent fixture for the team because it offers long-term protection thanks to active vibration damping. A counterweight constantly counteracts the inertial forces and reduces vibrations. "This means that virtually no vibrations are passed on to the body," explains Christian Ortner as he casts a critical glance towards the sky. Yet again, he uses the lifting platform to take him back up in order to check the connecting pieces that have just been installed, and to measure the supports again – before driving rain stops the work for today. Tomorrow, Christian Ortner's team will again place safety high up on their agenda.

Model RRP
GSR 18V-60 FC Professional (chuck, 2 x 5.0 Ah batteries, GAL 1880 CV Charger, L-BOXX) £335.70
GSR 18V-60 FC Professional (with attachments, 2 x 5.0 Ah batteries, GAL 1880 CV Charger, L-BOXX) £522.99
GWS 18 V-10 SC Professional Angle Grinder (2 x 5.0 Ah batteries, GAL 1880 CV Charger, L-BOXX) £405.00
GWS 18 V-10 SC Professional Angle Grinder (with 2 x ProCORE18V 8.0 Ah batteries, GAL 1880 CV Charger, L-BOXX) £464.44
GKS 18V-57 G Professional (no batteries, no charger, L-BOXX included) £187.44

Thanks to BOSCH for the news.

For more information on BOSCH see their website