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Safety Tips For Communication Tower Workers

Posted in Workers Compensation on June 10, 2020

According to data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 2.8 million total non-fatal worker injuries and illnesses across the country during the latest reporting year. While many jobs pose significant risks for workers, those who operate on communication towers face incredible hazards every day. Our nation relies on cell towers to keep us interconnected. Here, we offer safety tips for those who work on the construction and maintenance of cell towers in Georgia.

Communication tower workers

Georgia cell tower construction and maintenance safety tips

Training

Training is required for all cell tower construction and maintenance workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all employers provide training and programs for every employee who may be exposed to fall hazards. Both the National Association of Tower Erectors and the Wireless Infrastructure Association provide training for cell tower climbers. One program that started in 2012, the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), is designed for both new and experienced cell tower workers and helps them learn the best safety practices.

Proper equipment

Employers should never allow cell tower maintenance and construction workers to operate without proper safety equipment. Employers and workers should ensure that equipment is fully functional at all times. Some of the equipment that is essential for cell tower construction and maintenance workers includes:

  • Helmets
  • Gloves
  • Safety harnesses
  • Carabiners
  • Rope grabs
  • Lifeline
  • Toolbelt
  • Lanyards
  • Radios

Most injuries and deaths related to cell towers are the results of falls, so particular attention should be paid to the equipment design to keep falls from happening.

Communication with the team

The process of building, repairing, and climbing communication towers is much more than a one-person job. There will be a team of people employed by the communication company or independent contractors with specialization in this field. There needs to be open and continual communication about the job at hand. This includes formulating a game plan before the work is commenced as well as continuing communication throughout the entirety of the job at hand. As mentioned, independent contractors are often used to work on cell towers, and there needs to be clear and open communication between cell company employees and non-employee contractors.

Watch out for weather

It is vitally important to know both the current and upcoming weather conditions for the area around the cell tower. Even a little bit of moisture can significantly increase the danger to cell tower construction and maintenance workers. While we recognize that this work must be done, it may be necessary to delay certain work until weather conditions have improved. Weather conditions can deteriorate rapidly, and any decline in the forecast could warrant a suspension of operations for the day.

Lower or turn off RF emitter power

One of the least understood hazards that cell tower workers face is exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation. For towers that include multiple types of antennas, with each track sending or receiving RF signals at various frequencies and intensities, workers face risks of exposure even if they are not touching the antennas. These frequencies can cause significant damage to human skin and organs. It is strongly advised that the power to all RF transmitters are lowered or turned off if possible while working on the towers.

If you need to speak with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer, call us today at (404) 321-1700.

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