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New Rules for Communications Tower Workers

October 8th, 2014 at 10:12 am

communication tower worker safety, Chicago workers compensation lawyerThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued new regulations for its Communications Tower directive. The new updates focuses on hoist systems which are used to move workers to and from workstations located on communication towers.

The instructions were issued among growing concern over the spike of fatalities that have occurred at communications tower sites. There was twice the number of fatalities in 2013 as there were in the combined years of 2011 and 2012. Thirteen people were killed in communications tower work accidents last year. As of July of this year, there have already been 9 people killed in accidents.

According to OSHA, the mortality rate of communications tower employees is 25 times more than the average American worker. In February of this year, the agency sent letters to all communication workers, urging them to follow the strict guidelines that have been put in place for their protection. The letter outlined how critical it is for tower workers to be provided with proper training in safe work practices. The letter also cited the importance of workers to have the proper equipment, as well as training in the correct way to use that equipment.

In 2002, OSHA issued a directive regarding the correct way to use hoist and other fall arrest systems. This directive also included instructions on how to hoist and move workers safely. However, the directive only covered workers who were in the process of erecting new communication towers, but not for maintenance on existing towers. The new directive addresses workers who are working on either existing or new communication towers.

In a statement announcing the new rules, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health said, “This directive ensures that communication tower workers are protected regardless of the type of the work they are doing on communication towers. Employers and cell tower owners and operators must make sure workers are properly trained and protected.”

If you or someone in your family has been injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney to find out what civil recourse you may have for compensation for pain and loss you have suffered.

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