Communication Towers: The Dangers Workers Face

Over the past 30 years, the growing demand for wireless and broadcast communications has increased tower construction and maintenance. With the fast growth of technology like 3G, carriers are forced to race to upgrade their network, which has led to the increase number of fatalities in the cellphone tower industry.

In order to maintain communication towers, employees regularly climb these towers, using fixed ladders, support structures or step bolts, from 100 feet to heights in excess of 1000 or 2000 feet. Employees climb tower throughout the year, no matter the weather.

Some of the most frequent hazards are:
• Fall from heights
• Electrical hazards
• Hazards associated with hoisting personnel and equipment
• Inclement weather
• Falling object hazards
• Equipment failure
• Structural collapse of towers

In 2013, OSHA recorded a total of 13 fatalities in the cellphone tower industry. In the early weeks of 2014, there were 4 fatalities at communication tower worksites. The increase in fatalities and injuries in this injury has created major concerns for OSHA. OSHA is working with industry stakeholders to identify the causes of these injuries and fatalities, and to reduce the risks employees face every day in the communications tower industry.

Source: OSHA

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