Communication tower workers are responsible for maintaining and repairing the communication infrastructure that keeps us connected. Communication tower workers perform their duties both at the ground level and at great heights, often hundreds or even thousands of feet above ground level. The working environment comes with numerous inherent dangers and is widely understood to be a high-risk occupation.
As reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death among communication tower workers. Over an eight-year period, there were 176 fatalities in the communication tower industry. Many of these deaths were preventable, and OSHA has taken steps to improve worker safety by increasing training, regulations, and enforcement actions.
Despite these efforts, communication tower work is a high-risk occupation. Workers face a variety of hazards, including falls, electrical shock, and structural collapse. All employers must take steps to ensure that their workers are well-trained, supervised, and equipped with the required safety gear. By prioritizing safety and adherence to the required safety protocols, communication tower workers can continue to perform the duties of the job in relative safety.
Personal Protective Equipment
Communication tower workers must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times while on the job. The safety gear includes hard hats, approved eye protection, gloves, and specific types of footwear. Employers must provide PPE and ensure that it is in good condition and properly fitted for each worker. All safety equipment will be subject to wear and tear and must be immediately replaced if worn down.
Falls are the leading cause of death and injury in the communication tower industry. Workers must use fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lanyards when working at any height more than six feet. Employers must provide appropriate fall protection equipment and ensure that workers are trained in correct usage. Workers must inspect all fall protection equipment before each use. Many serious injuries are associated with faulty, worn, or damaged fall protection equipment or a failure to correctly train the worker in the proper use of this critical equipment.
Tower Inspection and Maintenance
Communication towers must be regularly inspected and maintained to protect the safety of workers. Some of the most common hazards that can lead to severe injury or death include loose bolts, corroded metal, and weather-related damage affecting stability and the safety of workers. Any faulty or damaged areas must be reported immediately, and repairs must be performed to restore the safety of the tower.
Tower Climbing Techniques and Worker Safety
Climbing a communication tower requires specific techniques to ensure the safety of the worker. When climbing, a full-body harness, helmet, and other protective gear must be worn. Workers use a double lanyard system, so they are “tied off” to the tower at all times. This system includes two separate lanyards attached to the harness and the tower. One lanyard is moved at a time while the other lanyard is secured to the structure. This technique ensures the worker is always attached to the tower, even in the case of one lanyard failing. The physical effort of climbing the tower puts stress on the worker, who must take breaks to avoid fatigue and increased fall risks.
New York can be subject to severe weather, including high-speed wind conditions, rain, snow, and ice. Communication tower workers can face increased risks in harsh weather but may be asked to climb a tower when the weather conditions are dangerous. OSHA’s “Communication Tower Best Practices” advises workers should not work at heights when weather conditions pose a safety risk. All tower owners and operators, along with subcontractors serving the industry, should have a safety plan in place for workers who suddenly encounter dangerous weather conditions while working.
Types of Injuries
The injuries sustained by communication tower workers are often extremely serious or fatal. Some of the most common include:
- Electrocution injuries
- Equipment failures
- Weather-related incidents
- Falling objects
- Falls from heights
Why You Need an Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured or a loved one died while working on a communication tower, engaging legal representation can protect your rights and interests. A full investigation into the facts and evidence will reveal the liable parties to name in a claim or lawsuit. All losses must be calculated and given a dollar value, including pain and suffering, reduced quality of life and earning capacity, and many others.
With the help of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, you can be confident your injury or wrongful death case is in the hands of one of the most respected injury law firms in NYC. The responsible parties must be held accountable for injuries or death from a failure to provide training, safe PPE, and fall protection gear or have allowed dangerous conditions to exist that put workers at risk.
Call (212) 986-7353 for a free case consultation after a communication tower accident in New York.