The Importance of Cell Tower Climber Safety

iStock_000002926735XSmallAs the race to upgrade and expand cell service continues, the concern for the safety of cell tower climbers remains a real concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), a federal agency that enforces safety, is seeking out ways to ensure all precautions are taken to keep climbers safe.

A startling statistic is that there were 13 fatalities from cell tower falls in 2013. This is a spike from previous year totals. Comparably, a total of 100 people died in cell tower falls between 2003 and 2011.

Some feel that the problem is due to the demand for 4G LTE upgrades. There were similar spikes in 2006-2008 when the iPhone was rolling out. Cell Tower Climbers have a very dangerous job as they climb great heights or are in locations that are difficult to locate in the event that emergency assistance needs to be requested.

“OSHA is taking a close look into factors that may be responsible for this tragic increase in fatalities and, based on those findings, we will initiate additional measures to improve safety in the cell-tower industry,” David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) has also done their part to help promote safety for cell tower climbers. They provide climbers with guidelines and safety regulations to promote a safe environment. In addition, they ask that employers use the Qualified Contractor’s Evaluation Checklist to confirm only qualified climbers are used. NATE also has formed an internal program called the STAR Initiative that emphasizes Safety, Training, Accountability and Reliability. It encourages participants to commit to increased voluntary site safety assessments and mandatory levels of training.

With the significance of 4G, it is important to make sure that the guys that are getting sent up on these towers are safe. It is unfortunate that there have been casualties; however, OHSA and NATE are doing their best to make sure that climbers remain safe and informed.

Launch 3 Telecom provides a variety of cell tower services such as cell site maintenance, DAS work, and radio optimization. We are members of NATE and will be exhibiting at the 2014 conference in San Diego on February 24-27. Along with OHSA and NATE, we ensure the safety of all our cell tower climbers. To find out more about our cell tower capabilities, contact us at 877-878-9134 or email sales@launch3.net.