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NIOSH alert: preventing injuries and deaths from falls during construction and maintenance of telecommunication towers.

Casini V; Castillo DN; Lentz TJ
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-156, 2001 Jul; :1-10
The widespread use of wireless communication services has resulted in the construction of telecommunication towers to hold transmitting devices for cellular phones, personal communication services, and televisions and radio broadcast antennas. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that at least 75, 000 telecommunication towers have been constructed in the United States, and industry groups indicate that more than 1,000 telecommunication towers are erected each year [Chiles 1997]. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-104) is expected to promote more tower construction to meet the increased demand fow wireless communication services [OSHA 1998]. Telecommunication towers are generally manafactured as sections and constructed onsite by hoisting each section into place and bolting sections together. Some models of shorter towers are self-erecting. For most towers that are constructed onsite, cranes and gin poles attatched to the tower being erected are genetally used to hoist each section into place. A gin pole is used to raise sucessive sections of steel, equipment, or workers into position. This temporaru lifting device uses cables and pulleys to accomodate the length of the next tower section of equipment being installed. The exact number of workers involved in tower construction and maintenance is unknown. Workers are categorized in a variety of occupational subgroups for which employment data are collected. These groups include communications workers, painters, steel erectors, and electrical and electronic equipment repairers. In addition to telecommunication towers, transmitting devices for wireless communication services are often mounted on the roof perimeters of buildings, exposing workers to fall hazards. However, the mounting and maintenance of these devices on buildings require fall protection measures that are not addressed in this document.
Occupational-hazards; Occupational-accidents; Work-environment; Workers; Worker-health; Traumatic-injuries; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Safety-equipment; Construction-Search
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Alert
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-156
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: January 8, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division