Coming on the heels of nine worker deaths so far in 2014 and a record number of fatalities in 2013, OSHA has recently announced an update to its directive on the use of hoist systems that are used to transport workers to and from workstations on communication towers.
In what OSHA calls “an alarming increase in preventable injuries and fatalities at communication tower work sites,” Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, stated:
“This directive ensures that communication tower workers are protected regardless of the type of the work they are doing on communication towers.”
Michael’s also emphasizes the responsibility of company leaders to ensure proper training, and in particular, process safety management training:
“Employers and cell tower owners and operators must make sure workers are properly trained and protected.”
The Addition of Process Safety Management Training
The new directive is an update to a 2002 policy, and it covers not only the proper use of fall protection systems and methods for using a hoist to transport workers on the communication towers, but also construction and maintenance of the towers themselves. All of this reflects an added emphasis on process safety management training.
OSHA also noted that it is collaborating with the National Association of Tower Erectors and others to ensure that “every communication tower employer understands how to protect workers performing this high-hazard work.”
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