Safety Tips For Communication Tower Workers

As our country becomes more and more technologically interconnected, the need for continual updates to communication towers is rapidly increasing. This means that new communication or “cell” towers are continually being constructed and older ones are constantly being upgraded. Those who work on these cell towers face significant risks each day, and it is vitally important that communication tower workers and their employers take every step possible to ensure workplace safety. Here, we share some basic safety tips for communication tower workers.

Communication workers

Oregon communication tower construction and maintenance safety tips

Proper training

Regardless of whether or not a communications tower worker is new to the job or has been working on these towers for 20 years, training is a vital part of this process. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers provide training and programs for any employee exposed to fall hazards. Particular to this industry, the National Association of Tower Erectors and the Wireless Infrastructure Association both provide training for communication tower climbers. The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) was started in 2012 and is designed to help both experienced and new communication tower workers learn best industry practices.

Proper equipment

As with any job, employers should always provide proper equipment to their workers. Given the hazardous nature of communication tower climbing, both employers and employees should ensure that their equipment is fully functional at all times. Some of the most important equipment for communication tower construction and maintenance workers includes:

  • Helmets
  • Communication radio
  • Gloves
  • Safety harnesses
  • Rope grabs
  • Lifeline
  • Carabiners
  • Toolbelt
  • Lanyards

The majority of injury and death cases that arise from communication tower incidents happen due to falls. That is why it is especially important that employers ensure that equipment design to prevent falls is in proper working order.

Be cautious of the weather

More so than most other jobs, communication tower construction and maintenance can be dramatically affected by the weather. It is important that employers understand both the current and predicted weather conditions for the area around the communication tower. Even a light rain can significantly increase the risks to communication tower workers. If necessary, maintenance and construction should be delayed until weather conditions improve.

Communicating with the entire team

The process of constructing or maintaining communication towers takes an entire team. This includes those who will be climbing the tower as well as those on the ground. In some cases, a combination of communication tower employees and independent contractors will be working together to get the job done. There needs to be open and continual communication between all parties involved throughout the entire process. Any miscommunication between tower workers could lead to significant injuries.

Worry about RF radiation

One of the least understood risks that communication tower workers face is the exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation. On a tower, there are usually multiple types of antennas with each sending or receiving RF signals at various frequencies and intensities. Any communication tower worker exposed to RF radiation for an extended period of time can suffer significant damage to their internal organs or skin. When possible, it is recommended that power to all RF transmitters be lowered or turned off when there is construction or maintenance ongoing.

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