New OSHA Directive on Cell Tower Safety

The next time you look up at a cell phone or other communications tower, ponder for a moment the human toll that working on these structures has exacted.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were more fatalities in the cell tower industry in 2013 than in the prior two years combined and 9 worker deaths so far in 2014.

To bring down those numbers, the agency last week issued a new directive on communications tower safety. The new directive focuses on the use of hoist systems used to move workers to and from workstations on communication towers. It outlines the proper use of hoist and other fall arrest systems and includes detailed information on how to hoist people safely.

Under a 2002 enforcement policy, only the hoisting of workers to workstations during new tower erection activities was covered.

“The updated policy covers any work on a communication tower–including both maintenance and new construction–that involves the use of a hoist to lift workers from one elevated workstation to another,” the agency said.

To read more about the directive, click here.

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