April 24, 2014
We know that building and maintaining communication towers is dangerous work. Of the 13 communication tower-related fatalities that occurred across the U.S. in 2013, the majority resulted from falls. This year, tower workers in the U.S. have also been injured or killed when towers collapsed, when their equipment failed, and by falling objects.
Protecting tower workers from falling objects can be challenging because of the nature of their work. Potential falling objects range from major structural components such as antennas and boom-gates to small hand tools. Even nuts and bolts can be lethal to workers below after accelerating for hundreds of feet.
Oregon OSHA's fall protection rules for the construction industry require that workers exposed to falling objects wear hard hats and be protected with toeboards, screens, guardrails with toeboards, or canopies that would prevent displaced objects from falling. Another option - and probably the best one for protecting workers below - is to set up a barricade and prohibit workers from entering the barricaded area until the work above is finished.
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But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.
For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.