WASHINGTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is asking the public for information about worker safety hazards in communication tower construction and maintenance activities. Public input will assist the agency in determining what measures are needed to prevent worker injuries and fatalities.
In the past 30 years, the increased demand for wireless and broadcast communications has spurred dramatic growth in communication tower construction and maintenance. In order to erect or maintain communication towers, employees regularly climb anywhere from 100 to 2,000 feet. Communication tower workers face the risk of falls from great heights, structural collapses, electrical hazards, and hazards associated with inclement weather. OSHA recorded 13 communication tower worker deaths in 2013 — the deadliest year for these workers since 2006. In 2014, 12 workers were killed which was double the number of deaths in 2011 and six times the total number in 2012.
"We understand the importance of this industry, but workers' lives should not be sacrificed for a better cell phone signal. OSHA is inviting the public to tell us what we can do to better protect these workers," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary for occupational safety and health.
OSHA is requesting information from tower workers, wireless carriers, engineering and construction management firms, tower owners, and tower construction and maintenance companies about the causes of employee injuries and fatalities, and to share best practices used by workers and employers in the industry to address these hazards.
The deadline for submitting comments is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Interested parties may submit comments and additional materials electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be mailed or faxed. See the Federal Register notice for details.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.