Tower Worker Hazards
January 20, 2020
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have both expressed concern over the risks posed to workers in the communication tower industry, namely fall hazards, potential structural collapse, and struck-by hazards. If you were injured in a rooftop accident, you may be eligible for benefits, including payment for medical expenses and lost wages.
Tower workers perform highly specialized work by building or performing maintenance on antennas installed on communication towers, water towers, electrical and telephone poles, and rooftops. Such structures can range over 1,000 feet tall, presenting fall hazards associated with working from heights.
Technicians who work on wireless rooftops should be aware of the hazards associated with the job and follow the applicable safety protocols. According to the National Association of Tower Erectors, there are three main areas of concern:
- Hierarchy for fall protection: There is a hierarchy for fall protection on rooftops. When eliminating workers’ exposure to the hazard is not feasible, passive fall protection systems should be implemented, followed by fall arrest systems and administrative systems. Rooftop workers are at high risk of falling or slipping off the edge of buildings; therefore, there must either be an OSHA-compliant guardrail or parapet in place, or a flagged warning line 15 feet from the roof’s edge.
- Radiofrequency (RF) exposure: Workers may be exposed to RF radiation when working near microwave or panel antennas. To comply with FCC and OSHA regulations, employers must complete an RF survey and identify unsafe work zones. It is also advisable for employers to equip all workers with RF monitors.
- Ladder hazards: Sometimes, tower workers perform work on penthouse rooftops, small structures on rooftops that house stairwells, elevator equipment, and other utilities. The same rules that apply to those working on main rooftops apply to those working on penthouses. However, as penthouse rooftops are often only accessible by ladder, those working on them must also comply with ladder safety standards and best practices, such as tying off the ladder and establishing its tipping zone to prevent falls.
Additional Fall Hazards
Those performing work on wireless rooftops must use fall-restraints connected to adequate anchor points. Anchorages must be tested, certified, and labeled annually by the building’s owner and any structural members used as anchorages must be chosen by a competent person.
Common hazards, such as roof openings, skylights, and access hatches must be covered or barricaded. Employers must also ensure that there are personal fall protection systems in place and that there is a rescue plan in case of an emergency. Both towers and flat rooftops pose significant dangers, therefore it is important for both stakeholders and tower workers to follow all safety and fall protection protocols.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Tower Workers Injured on Rooftops
If you were injured while working on a tower, you may need an attorney to help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Let an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. help you with your case. For a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
Located in Philadelphia, Bensalem, Lansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.