- Falls from great heights
- Electrical hazards
- Hazards associated with hoisting personnel and equipment with base-mounted drum hoists
- Inclement weather
- Falling object hazards
- Equipment failure
- Structural collapse of towers
- Inspection Procedures for Accessing Communication Towers by Hoist. OSHA Directive CPL 02-01-056, (2014, July 17).
- No more falling workers. OSHA focuses on protecting cell tower employees after increase in worksite fatalities. OSHA News Release, (2014, February 11).
- OSHA letter to communication tower industry employers. (2014, February 10).
- Protecting the Safety and Health of Communication Tower Workers (PDF*). Letter to Regional Administrators, (2013, November 8).
- 1926 Subpart M - Fall protection [related topic page]
- 1926.501 - Duty to have fall protection
- 1926.502 - Fall protection systems criteria and practices
- 1926.503 - Training requirements
- 1926 Subpart E - Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment [related topic page]
- 1926.104 - Safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards
- 1926.105 - Safety nets
- General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
- 1910 Subpart R - Special Industries
- 1910.268 - Telecommunications
- 1910 Subpart I - Personal Protective Equipment [related topic page]
- 1910.132 - General requirements
- Fall from a Telecommunications Tower: FATAL Facts (PDF*). OSHA Fatal Facts.
- Preventing Falls in Construction. OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign.
- Fall protection. OSHA Safety and Health Topic.
- New FCC and DOL announce wireless apprenticeship program. The Wireless Infrastructure Association is orchestrating the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP).
- New Wireless Horizon tower collapse results in deaths of 2 cell tower workers: OSHA finds 2 willful, 4 serious safety violations at Blaine, Kansas, work site. OSHA News Release, (2014, September 25).
- New Cell tower company cited by OSHA for safety hazards following fatality in Clarksburg, West Virginia, tower collapse in February 2014. OSHA News Release, (2014, July 31).
- Louisiana cellular tower company cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA following worker fatality. OSHA Regional News Release, (2013, December 5).
- November 22, 2013, Optica Network Technologies, Wichita, Kansas. A 25-year-old worker performing cell tower maintenance was killed when he fell 50 feet.
- August 17, 2013, Custom Tower, LLC, Louise, Mississippi. A worker installing microwave dishes on a cell tower was killed when he fell 125 feet. The worker, who was not using a double lanyard, fell after disconnecting his positioning lanyard to reposition himself.
- August 12, 2013, Transmit PM LLC, Coats, NC. A worker performing installation services for Sprint under the direction of Alcatel-Lucent died from a fall.
- July 8, 2013, Monarch Towers, Mountrail County, ND. Two workers were adding structural supports to a 300 foot tower. One worker fell and struck the other, causing them both to die from a 250 foot fall.
- May 28, 2013, Byrd Telecom, Georgetown, MS. Workers were raising a new antenna to the top of a tower to make the tower taller. While installing a hoisting device to raise the boom a cable broke, causing two men to fall to their deaths.
- April 3, 2013, Excell Communications, Birmingham, AL. No fatality, injury - Worker survived a 140 foot fall.
- April 5, 2013, S25 Towerserv, LLC, Franklin, PA. Two employees were hoisting new equipment on a tower, one employee was at approximately 190 feet, the other at 140 feet. The equipment being hoisted came loose striking the lower employee causing him to fall.
- March 19, 2013, Eduardo Corona, Laredo, TX. While installing the last 10-foot section of a 90 foot tower, the bottom section collapsed, causing one employee to fall to the ground and die.
- January 4, 2013, Ws Consulting & Construction, Mount Vernon, Washington. Employee fell 80 feet and died, had fall protection gear on, but the fall protection anchorage point failed.
- August 11, 2011, Hayden Tower Service, Inc., Brookfield, MO. A worker dismantling a cellular tower fell 80 feet and later died in the hospital.
- August 3, 2011, Sink Tower Erection Co., Hollister, NC. A worker was making modifications to 300 foot cellular tower when he fell 50 feet and was killed.
- June 27, 2012, Midwest Steeplejacks, Inc., Lisbon, ND. Employee was on a 300-foot telecommunication tower wearing an ExoFit XP Tower Climbing Harness equipped with a positioning device and twin lanyards, using only one tie-off point. Employee unhooked his positioning device to reposition himself, and fell approximately 153 feet and died.
- October 12. 2011, Ultimate Tower Service, Inc., Newton, MA. An employee was killed from fall while installing a new ladder on a 1000 foot tower.
- Investigation of the September 24, 2002 Collapse of the 1965-foot High KDUH-TV Antenna Tower in Hemingford, NE (PDF).
- Investigation of the September 4, 2003 Collapse of the 1000-foot High TV Antenna Tower in Huntsville, AL (PDF).
- Investigation of the October 23, 1997 Collapse of the 1889-foot High TV Antenna Tower in Raymond, MS (PDF).
- Investigation of the October 12, 1996 Collapse of a 1500-Feet High Antenna Tower in Cedar Hill, TX (PDF).
- NIOSH FACE reports
- 55-Year-Old Communications Tower Worker Killed After Falling 60 Feet - New Jersey
- Three Tower Painters Die After Falling 1,200 Feet When Riding the Hoist Line - North Carolina
- Tower Construction Worker Dies Following 40-Foot Fall From Cellular Tower - Missouri
- Tower Painter Dies and a Second Painter Injured After Falling 900 Feet While inside a Man Basket - South Carolina
- Tower Construction Worker Dies Following 200 Foot Fall From Radio Tower - Missouri
- Hispanic Tower Erector Falls to Death from Television Tower - Nebraska
- NIOSH Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths from Falls during Construction and Maintenance of Telecommunication Towers (PDF).
OSHA finds 2 willful, 4 serious safety violations at Blaine, Kansas, work site
July 31, 2014
Contact: Leni Fortson Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5102 215-861-5101
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Clarksburg, West Virginia, tower collapse in February 2014
New US Department of Labor OSHA directive seeks to protect communication tower workers
- Perez: The Cell Phones in our Pockets Shouldn't Come at the Expense of Workers' Lives. EHS Today, (2014, October 20).
- New rules would protect cell tower workers. The Hill, (2014, October 14).
- FCC, Labor team to save tower workers' lives. Broadcasting & Cable, (2014, October 14).
- Department of Labor, FCC announce wireless apprenticeship program. RCR Wireless News, (2014, October 14).
- Tower workers should utilize a separate fall protection system when employing vertical lifelines or controlled descent devices.
- Communication tower employees should be trained on the proper use of tower climbing and fall protection equipment.
- A safety and health plan based on a job hazard analysis should be developed by the employer and followed for each tower climb where workers are assigned tasks.
Figure 1: Work site on tower. Note the anchor strap and work ropes at the 60 foot elevation point where the deceased was working.
Figure 2: Lifeline: Controlled descent device or Fisk, along with slip knot and loop knot at each end of the lifeline.
Recommendation #1: Tower workers should utilize a separate fall protection system when employing vertical lifelines or controlled descent devices.
Recommendation #2: Communication tower employees should be trained on the proper use of tower climbing and fall protection equipment.
Recommendation #3: A safety and health plan based on a job hazard analysis should be developed by the employer and followed for each communications tower where workers are assigned tasks.
It is extremely important that employers obtain accurate information on health, safety, and applicable OSHA standards. NJ FACE recommends the following sources of information which should help both employers and employees:
Federal OSHA will provide information on safety and health standards on request. OSHA has four area offices in New Jersey that cover the following counties:
Telephone: (732) 750-3270
Telephone: (973) 263-1003
Telephone: (201) 288-1700
Telephone: (856) 757-5181
Web site: https://www.osha.gov/
New Jersey Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) Program
The PEOSH Act covers all NJ state, county, and municipal employees. Two state departments administer the act; the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDLWD), which investigates safety hazards, and the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), which investigates health hazards. PEOSH has information available that may also benefit private employers.
Telephone: (609) 633-3896
Web site: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/lsse/employer/Public_Employees_OSH.html
Telephone: (609) 984-1863
Web site: http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/peoshweb/
Telephone: (609) 984-1863 or (609) 633-2587
Web site: www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/peoshweb/peoshcon.htm
New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Occupational Safety and Health On-Site Consultation Program
This program provides free advice to private businesses on improving safety and health in the workplace and complying with OSHA standards.
Web site: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lsse/employer/peosh_consultation.html
New Jersey State Safety Council
The NJ State Safety Council provides a variety of courses on work-related safety. There is a charge for the seminars.
Web site: http://www.njsafety.org
Other useful internet sites for occupational safety and health information:
- CDC/NIOSH - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/
- USDOL Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses - http://www.dol.gov/elaws/
- National Safety Council - http://www.nsc.org/Pages/Home.aspx
- NJDHSS FACE reports - http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/survweb/face.htm
- CDC/NIOSH FACE - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/
- OSHA - https://www.osha.gov/
- ANSI - http://www.ansi.org
New Jersey FACE Program
Date: May 22, 2001
- provide employees with a 100% fall protection system compatible with the work being performed, instruct employees in the proper use of the system and equipment, and ensure their use;
- employers should ensure that proper personal protective equipment is available and instruct workers in the proper use and limitations of the system, and ensure its use;
- develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program which includes a commitment to 100% tie off and written procedures to implement 100% fall protection
- consider installing fall-protection fixtures on tower components during fabrication or erection that would facilitate the use of fall protection.
- can attach to anchorage points incorporated into the design of the tower;
- are large enough to completely encircle tower members to which they are to be attached (these large connectors may require a special order from a fall-protection equipment manufacturer as the throat opening must be large enough to encircle the member); or
- a Y-style lanyard made of reinforced fabric. The reinforced lanyards can be looped around the tower member and attached back to themselves.
- identification of work-site activities that require fall protection;
- any methods to be used to eliminate the fall hazard;
- all protective systems and PPE to be used for worker protection;
- training for workers;
- minimum standards for protection systems and their use;
- ongoing evaluation to correct any deficiencies in the system or in the use of the system by workers,
- a plan for worker involvement in identifying fall hazards;
- a plan for systematic review of the plan.
- OSHA Compliance Directive, CPL 2-1.29 - Interim Inspection Procedures During Communication Tower Construction . United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C.
- Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR 1926.502, U.S. Government Printing Office, Office of the Federal Register, Washington, DC.
Three Tower Painters Die After Falling 1,200 Feet When Riding the Hoist Line - North Carolina
- ensure that hoisting equipment used to lift personnel is designed to prevent uncontrolled descent and is properly rated for the intended use
- comply with OSHA Compliance Directive CPL 2-1.29 "Interim Inspection Procedures During Communication Tower Construction Activities" during maintenance and construction activities on towers
- ensure that workers inspect equipment on a daily basis to identify any damage or deficiencies
- ensure that required personal protective equipment is available and properly used
- know and comply with child labor laws which include prohibitions against work by youth less than 18 years of age in occupations which are declared by the Secretary of Labor to be particularly hazardous (Hazardous Orders).
Cause of Death
Recommendations and Discussion
Recommendation #1: Employers should ensure that hoisting equipment used to lift personnel is designed to prevent uncontrolled descent and is properly rated for the intended use.
Recommendation #2: Employers should comply with OSHA Compliance Directive CPL 2-1.29 during maintenance and construction activities on telecommunication towers.
Recommendation #3: Employers should ensure that required personal protective
equipment is available and properly used.
Recommendation #4: Employers should ensure that workers inspect equipment on a
daily basis to identify any damage or deficiencies.
Recommendation #5: Employers should know and comply with child labor laws which
include prohibitions against work by youths less than 18 years of age in
occupations which are declared by the Secretary of Labor to be particularly
hazardous (Hazardous Orders).
Additionally: Tower owners should ensure that workers adhere to OSHA Compliance
Directive CPL 2-1.29 while performing maintenance or construction activities on
Bulletin 20-9301CH, Chance tips of the trade-Capstan Hoists. Chance tips Vol. 53 No. 3, October 1992; and Vol. 54 No. 1, January 1993.
Hubbell Power Systems - intra-company correspondence received by NIOSH from Hubbell Power Systems Proprietary Properties Department.
Hubbell/Chance - Centralia, Missouri. Catalogue Section 1150 - powered hoists.
CPL 2-1.29, Compliance Directive: Interim Inspection Procedures During Communication Tower Construction Activities . United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C.
Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR 1926.502(d), 1999 edition. U.S. Government Printing Office, Office of the Federal Register, Washington, D.C.
DOL (1990). Child labor requirements in nonagricultural occupations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division, WH 1330.
Man jumps to his death from a tower on which a tech had jumped off in April
Authorities said that Christopher Zweidinger, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene after he jumped from the tower
Police responded around 2:40 p.m. after receiving a call that someone was climbing the tower. The man, who was later identified as Zweidinger, was at about the 200-foot level when they tried to make contact with him using a loudspeaker.
Zweidinger was the second person to leap from the tower this year. On April 21, 2014, a 60-year-old tower technician jumped to his death from the top of the tower and fell through the roof of the same vacant building where Zweidinger was found.
At that time the tech had attached his lanyard to the tower and remained there for a while, swinging from side to side as authorities tried to coax him down.
He then stared at the crowd which had gathered on the sidewalk outside a ring of emergency vehicles, unhooked his harness and threw himself off of the tower with his feet pointed at the ground and his hands raised in the air.
According to authorities, Pedro Macias from Elizabeth was on the tower for approximately an hour before he jumped. He worked for National Microwave Contractors, Inc. of Rockaway.
As seen in a video taken by a bystander, Macias climbed the tower with his personal fall protection equipment on, stopping briefly for a cigarette break, and then proceeded to climb to the top mast which supported Y107’s antenna and an incandescent beacon on the 400-foot self-supporting tower.
He hooked up his lanyard and remained there for a while, swinging from side to side. He then stared at the crowd which had gathered on the sidewalk outside a ring of emergency vehicles, unhooked his harness and threw himself off of the tower with his feet pointed at the ground and his hands raised in the air.
He went through the roof of a vacant building, dying upon impact. Police and firemen could not immediately enter the building as it was deemed unsafe. After a hole was cut in the side of the structure he was lowered to the ground.
Macias had been a tower technician for more than 15 years and was originally from Cuba. He had either climbed the tower compound’s fence or may have had a key to access the gate as there were no signs of a break-in.
Long Branch Director of Public Safety Jason Roebuck said that he had been in touch with National Microwave and they had stated that they had no record of Macias doing any maintenance on the tower on Monday.
The tower is located at Memorial Pkwy. and Belmont Ave.