The FCC and OSHA have announced the release of a free publication, Communications Tower Best Practices Guide. While aimed more at those who tend commercial communication towers, the guide offers guidance applicable to the Amateur Radio community and contractors working on Amateur Radio antenna support structures. The FCC said the guide was a result of two tower safety workshops.
“Recognizing the risks that tower employees face, OSHA and the FCC held a workshop on communication tower employee safety on October 14, 2014,” the new guide explains. “During this workshop, industry stakeholders, along with employee safety advocates and the families of communication tower employees who had been killed on the job, gathered to discuss issues affecting the safety of communication tower employees.”
A second workshop followed in February 2016, during which a panel of industry stakeholders and advocates discussed best practices that could reduce injuries and fatalities among tower workers. “This document is a collection of the best practices gathered from those workshops and from the discussions that continued beyond those events,” the guide says.
Among other points, the guide emphasizes that all tower workers need “to have and use proper safety equipment at all times,” and that, “no work should be done if proper safety equipment is unavailable or if the safety equipment available is not functioning properly.”
The guide also notes that drones are being used today for tower inspection. “This technology has the potential to reduce unnecessary climbing and can avoid putting [tower workers] at risk,” the guide says.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that communications tower workers today face potential hazards that can prove fatal if not performed safely. “Every tower climber death is preventable,” he stressed.