Cell Tower Worker Accident, Health, Safety Issues

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The Serious Health and Safety Issues Cell Tower Workers Face

 

According to the US Labor Department, the  rate of cell tower worker accidents has sharply risen over the last few years as towers are being built at a rapid pace with minimal regulations and worker safeguards in place .  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  is currently investigating  the “alarming increase in preventable injuries and fatalities at communication tower work sites.”

In 2013 the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers wrote the FCC in 2013 that “ensuring compliance with existing FCC RF human exposure limits by the FCC licensee is not effective and cannot/is not being enforced.” Concerned about the health of their workers they state “When there is a hazard, the hazard creator has a duty to warn others against the hazard.”

The EM Radiation Policy Institute wrote the FCC in 2013 with documentation of Failure to Regulate Antennas and the Lack of FCC Monitoring of Compliance with FCC RF Safety Policies stating that “the FCC does not monitor compliance and does not take any effective enforcement action against violators.”  

Quotes From Submissions to the FCC on RF Safety for Workers of note

“We continue to be concerned about the thousands of construction workers who are put at risk daily of being exposed to harmful levels of radio frequency (RF) radiation generated by wireless antenna systems across the country. “

Read the North America’s Building Trade Union 11/2015 FCC Submission

 

“RF antennas are often intentionally disguised as building features making it impossible for a construction worker to know the hazard even exists.”

Operative Plasterers and Cement Mason’s International Association of the United States and Canada11/2015 FCC submission

 

“The association is concerned that mechanical service technicians may at times be unwittingly overexposed to radiofrequency (RF) radiation because their employers are rarely informed about the presence of and the potential hazards associated with telecommunications antennas.”

Mechanical Contractors Union Letter to the FCC

RESOURCES

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

April 2015: OSHA issued a Request for Information seeking feedback from stakeholders on how the agency can best work to prevent injuries and deaths during tower work.

“5 Terrifying Realities Of My Job As A Cell Tower Climber” A news article on falling objects, radiation concerns lax regulation and how pressure to work fast results in accidents by a cell tower climber.

February 2015 OSHA and the Federal Communications Commission conducted a workshop to discuss comments received in response to the RFI and guidance on best practices for improving tower climber safety.

2014 OSHA Press Release: No more falling workers: OSHA focuses on protecting cell tower employees after increase in worksite fatalities

2/2014 Letter to Communication Tower Industry Employers on “alarming increase in worker deaths

OSHA New Webpage on Protecting Workers in Communications Work

11/2013 Department of Labor Memo to OSHA’s compliance officers and regional administrators “Protecting the Safety and Health of Communication Tower Workers”

Radiofrequency Radiation Awareness Program For The Cell Tower Construction Industry

The Center for Construction Research and Training together with the Roofing r2p Partnership and the RF Radiation Work Group, have developed the Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation Awareness Program for the Construction Industry, intended to raise construction contractors’ and workers’ awareness of the potential risk, how to identify the hazard, and steps to work safely.

Hazard Alert Card: RF Radiation – An invisible danger (available in Spanish)

 

FCC

Communication Tower Best Practices The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and

The Federal Communications Commission 2014

2/11/2016 FCC and DOL Workshop on Tower Climber Safety and Apprenticeship Program

Youtube Link

Download 2016 PPT Comment_Excerpts_from Workers on Safety Issues

Remarks Prepared for Delivery by Kathy Pierce Hubble Foundation, Son Died From Tower Incident

FCC 10/2014 Hearing: Tower Climber Safety and Injury Protection Workshop

 

Letters to the FCC

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 2013 Letter to the FCC

EM Radiation Policy Institute 2013 Letter to the FCC on the Failure to Regulate Antennas and the Lack of FCC Monitoring of Compliance with FCC RF Safety Policies

North America’s Building Trade Union 2015 Letter to the FCC

Operative Plasterers and Cement Mason’s International Association of the United States and Canada 2015 Letter to the FCC

Mechanical Contractors Union 2015 Letter to the FCC

 

PBS

PBS 30 Minute Video Frontline Cell Tower Deaths

PBS News Report: “Labor Dept. Warns of “Alarming” Rise in Cell Tower Deaths”

Video: FRONTLINE INVESTIGATES – Cell Tower Deaths Investigated

Video: Youtube PBS Frontline – Cell Tower Deaths  

Frontline: Anatomy of a Cell Tower Death

 

Videos

FCC Hearing: Tower Climber Safety and Injury Protection Workshop

Wally Reardon Powerpoint Presentation from FCC Hearing: Workers at Heights Safety & Health Initiative

2/11/2016 FCC Workshop on Tower Climber Safety and Apprenticeship Program Youtube Link

 

News Articles

“In Race For Better Cell Service, Men Who Climb Towers Pay With Their Lives An investigation into the poorly regulated and risky world of cell tower climbing.” 2012 MotherJones

 

Safety and Health Magazine

OSHA, FCC workshop focuses on keeping communications tower workers safe

‘You can’t subcontract safety’

OSHA, FCC to host workshop on preventing tower-worker deaths

OSHA, FCC collaborate on guide for communication tower workers

Video urges tower climbers to inspect fall protection gear daily

Below is a video about a telecommunications worker who was injured and rammed a tower with a bulldozer.

 

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