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New video for tower workers: Wireless rooftop hazards

Photo: National Association of Tower Erectors

Watertown, SD — A new video from the National Association of Tower Erectors reinforces the importance of hazard awareness for technicians who work on wireless rooftop sites.

The four-minute video includes insight from Brandon Foster, an industry crew safety and training coordinator, who reminds workers and stakeholders to avoid complacency and a false sense of security when performing rooftop installation and maintenance duties.

“Don’t think you can be lazy about safety or fall protection just because you’re on a flat rooftop rather than a tower,” Foster says in the video.


Foster addresses various safety protocols, including:

  • Know the hierarchy of fall protection controls.
  • Ensure an OSHA-compliant guardrail or parapet is in place before work starts. “If not, OSHA requires us to flag a warning line 15 feet from the roof’s unprotected edge. For any work done outside the warning line, we’ll need to use fall restraint or fall arrests connected to an adequate anchor point.”
  • Make sure the building’s owner has performed annual testing, certification and labeling on existing anchorages and a competent person has chosen structural members used as anchors. “If you use fall arrest, don’t forget about a rescue plan.”
  • Be mindful of potential exposure to radiofrequency energy and complete an RF survey for OSHA and Federal Communications Commission compliance. “It’s best to equip everyone with RF monitors just to be safe.”
  • Cover or barricade common hazards such as roof openings, skylights and access hatches.

Additionally, Foster says workers who access antennas mounted on penthouses – small structures that house elevator equipment, stairwells and other utilities – should follow the same fall protection considerations. Because ladders often are needed for penthouse operations, Foster reminds technicians to:

  • Establish your tipping zone. “If the ladder tips, will it reach the edge of the roof, which may cause the ladder or the person on the ladder to fall?”
  • Tie off ladders.

The video is the latest installment of NATE’s Climber Connection series, which advocates 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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