OSHA Works Toward Safety for Cell Tower Employees

The agency collaborates with the National Association of Tower Erectors on a safety initiative

In an effort to prevent workers from falling, OSHA has collaborated with the National Association of Tower Erectors and other key stakeholders in the industry to ensure that communication tower employers understand the risk of their employees performing hazardous work as well as their responsibility to protect the workers. Four worker deaths have occurred in the first five weeks of 2014 alone and the increase has raised concern for OSHA and the industry.

The collaboration comes in the wake of a worker who fell to his death from a cell tower in Texas on Jan. 31, as well as two cell towers that collapsed on Feb. 1 in West Virginia, which led to the death of two workers and one firefighter. In addition, 13 communication tower-related fatalities occurred in 2013, and the majority of the deaths were from falls, according to OSHA. Workers also died from falling objects, structural collapses and equipment failures.

In a press release released by OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, the asst. secretary of labor for occupational health and safety said, "Tower worker deaths cannot be the price we pay for increased wireless communication. Employers and cell tower owners and operators must do everything possible to stop these senseless, preventable tragedies."

So far, OSHA has issued a letter to communication tower employees emphasizing compliance and adherence to safety standards and has released a new website regarding the issues of tower work. 

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