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New video for tower workers explores safe installation, maintenance of small cell antennas

Photo: National Association of Tower Erectors

Watertown, SD — A new video from the National Association of Tower Erectors stresses hazard awareness for technicians who work with small cellular antenna towers on new or existing structures.

The two-and-a-half-minute video features insight from Justin Dillon, an industry construction manager. Dillon says that although small cell antennas – an emerging technology – lack the size and scope of traditional communication towers, workers need to be mindful of several hazards during installation and maintenance, including:

  • Pedestrian and vehicle traffic: “A lot of times you’re in urban areas, so there’s a lot more [of it].”
  • Falls from height: “Know your surroundings, and look for protection anchors on the site. More often than not, you’ll be working from a man-lift or bucket truck, but remember that fall protection is still needed when working at height, even in those machines.”
  • Power lines and electricity: “There are several pieces of equipment, such as transformers, that could be energized, so you have to be aware of them at all times.”
  • Exposure to radiofrequency energy: “Wireless antennas emit RF energy during normal operation. Therefore, crews installing these need to know the [Federal Communications Commission] guidelines and protect themselves at all times.”

Ryan Van Duzer, a travel video journalist, hosts the video. “With bigger call volumes and a bigger need for data, we need more antennas,” Van Duzer says. “Small cells are one more way wireless carriers are getting their signal into crowded areas where you just can’t put up a traditional, tower-based macro cell.”


The video is the latest in NATE’s Climber Connection series, which promotes safe work practices for communication tower workers. The association asks climbers and other industry stakeholders to use the hashtag #ClimberConnection when posting the video on social media platforms.

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