Fall prevention Utilities

OSHA revises directive on communication tower inspections

Communications towers
Photo: Henryk Sadura/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – In an effort to ensure uniform enforcement of workers who use hoists to reach communication tower workstations, OSHA has issued a new inspection directive to agency compliance officers.

Effective as of July 17, the directive cancels a 2002 directive that applied only to personnel using hoists during new tower erection.

Typically, fixed ladders with attached climbing devices are preferred for accessing communication tower workstations, OSHA states. For workers who climb the tower repeatedly, however, industry practice is to hoist the employees to the work level.

The directive outlines compliance guidelines for hoisting workers, including necessary training, fall protection and hoisting weight limits. It is part of a recent OSHA focus on communication tower safety following an increase in the number of fatalities and injuries in the industry over the past year. In February, OSHA administrator David Michaels wrote to communication tower industry employers to help raise awareness of fall protection, noting that the lack of it played a role in a number of recent tower-worker deaths.