Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
Don't leave the task of calculating total cost of workforce to the finance department.
Is your employee handbook ready for the changing world of work? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
60+ new SHRM Seminar dates in 10 U.S. cities and virtually.
Expand your influence and learn how to become an effective leader -- Join us in Phoenix, AZ, October 2-4, 2017.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its enforcement policy on the use of hoist systems to move workers up and down communication towers to include all tower work, not just new tower construction.
The update is the latest in a series of actions OSHA has taken to highlight communication tower safety after an increase in injuries and fatalities at tower worksites since 2013.
“More fatalities occurred in this industry in 2013 than in the previous two years combined. This disturbing trend appears to be continuing, with nine worker deaths occurring so far in 2014,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, in a news release.
“This directive ensures that communication tower workers are protected regardless of the type of the work they are doing.”
The directive updates a 2002 policy, which only covered the hoisting of workers to workstations during new tower erection activities. The updated policy covers any work on a communication tower—including both maintenance and new construction—that involves the use of a hoist to lift workers from one elevated workstation to another.
The new rules also outline the proper use of hoist and other fall arrest systems, and include detailed information on how to hoist workers safely. “Many employees do not know how to use the systems properly,” OSHA said.
The agency collaborated with industry stakeholders before updating the policy, achieving their buy-in. “OSHA’s directive is a milestone in our efforts to promote worker safety,” the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) said in a news release. NATE acknowledged that being able to safely hoist workers up and down towers will reduce worker fatigue and susceptibility to repetitive motion injuries associated with ascending and descending towers via ladders.
The directive also outlines key compliance training guidelines for employers, including:
OSHA plans to issue a request for information later this year on ways the agency could improve communication tower safety through the development of a new standard.
An industry consensus standard covering tower construction, maintenance and demolition is also in the works.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him @SHRMRoy
SHRM OnlineSafety & Security page
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies