Working as a cell tower climber is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Cell tower safety has become a greater concern for everyone as the number of cell tower safety incidents continues to rise.
From 2013 – 2016, OSHA documented 34 fatalities at communication tower sites. The hazardous working conditions tower climbers face include, heights, electrical equipment, weather, and equipment failure.
Keeping tower climbers safe should be a major part of climber training and a regular part of job and work reviews. Here are five cell tower safety tips to keep in mind.
Training is now required and easily available to all. OSHA requires that employers provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The decrease of injuries and deaths in the telecom industry could be correlated with these safety training efforts.
The National Association of Tower Erectors and the Wireless Infrastructure Association offer training for cell tower climbers on best safety practices. One specific training program is the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP). This program started in 2012 to develop a training procedure for both new and veteran cell tower workers to ensure they know the best safety procedures. Even if you’ve been climbing towers for years, it’s always good to be refreshed and updated on safety procedures.
Not only is it important for everyone to take training courses, but it’s even more crucial that everyone follows these safety recommendations. Safety procedures and certifications can mean life or death when it comes to cell tower work.
All cell tower construction and maintenance workers should be supplied with the proper safety equipment. Make sure your equipment is fully functional at all times. Below is some of the equipment you should always have when working on cell towers.
Building, climbing, and repairing cell towers is more than a one-person job. Communicate with your team to have a plan and make sure everyone is aware of it.
Be aware of current and upcoming weather conditions. A little rain or snow can make the conditions more dangerous when working on cell towers. Take extra safety precautions as needed or delay work until conditions have improved.
Being exposed to high radio frequency levels can be hazardous to a person’s health. Make sure the power to the RF emitters is lowered or turned off if possible when working on cell towers.
As groups like the Department of Labor, OSHA, and the National Association of Tower Erectors work on making cell tower safety practices known and implemented by all, the number of deaths and injuries continues to decrease. However, the work done by tower climbers is still a dangerous job. Make cell tower safety a priority for your company.
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