Editor's Note

Editor's Note: 'Height'-ened awareness

In his “All About You” column in this month’s issue of Safety+Health, Richard Hawk offers some solid advice for overcoming both professional and personal fears.

His tips arrived at a time when I was still being gently ribbed by some National Safety Council staff members following the publication of the council’s internal newsletter. The newsletter features a “get to know you” Q&A with an NSC employee, and a few weeks ago it was my turn to participate. One of the questions was, “What are you afraid of?” My answer – heights – generated no little amusement because of its irony (I’m well over 6 feet tall). But I wasn’t always this tall, and I’ve been afraid of heights for as long as I can remember. So whenever I read about the people who climb cell phone towers as part of their job, it’s always with a mixture of admiration for their fortitude and deep concern for their safety.

This month, Senior Associate Editor Kyle W. Morrison reports on a workshop hosted in February by OSHA and the Federal Communications Commission. At issue: how to prevent injuries and deaths among cell phone tower climbers, and increase safety awareness among all stakeholders in the industry.

Many of the safety hazards discussed – including falls, struck-bys and fatigue – are present in other industries yet take on an added dimension when workers are hundreds of feet in the air. And a large part of the workshop focused on the challenges of keeping workers safe in an industry that involves what OSHA calls “complex business relationships among multiple companies.”

When I look out my office window, a cell phone tower is directly in my line of vision. They’re now a common sight. Let’s hope that the members of the cell-tower industry can find a way to make high standards of worker safety just as common.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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