Communication Towers A communication tower is defined as any tower over six feet in height that is used primarily as an antenna or to host one or more antennas. A communication tower may be affixed to another structure, such as an electrical transmission tower, church steeple, building rooftop or water tower. Communication Towers Hazard Overview Solutions Regulations Learn More What are the hazards associated with communication towers? The main hazard for workers is falling to a lower level, which can result in serious injury or death. In addition, workers on communication towers with active transmitters can become overexposed to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields from transmitters. What can I do to protect myself? Unless trained about fall protection and provided with the appropriate fall protection equipment, no worker should be assigned to work on a communication tower. Workers should also know the potential health effects associated with exposure to RF fields for prolonged periods of time. What resources are available to assist employers? Training and Outreach Services This fall protection presentation is available and can assist employers in training their staff. The presentation should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards. The education, training and technical assistance bureau also provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. Further, this fall protection pre-recorded webinar can assist with training after normal work hours. In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). A-Z Safety and Health Topics More information can be found on the A-Z topics pages for fall protection and radiation, ionizing and non-ionizing. Consultation Services The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards. Which standards apply? OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to communication towers in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. North Carolina State-specific standards 13 NCAC 07F. 0601 - .0609 - Communication Tower Standards 13 NCAC 07F .0601 - scope and application 13 NCAC 07F .0602 - definitions 13 NCAC 07F .0603 - employer responsibilities 13 NCAC 07F .0604 - hazard identification and assessment 13 NCAC 07F .0605 - fall protection 13 NCAC 07F .0606 - nonionizing radiation 13 NCAC 07F .0607 - hoists and gin poles 13 NCAC 07F .0608 - recordkeeping 13 NCAC 07F .0609 - training The following OSH standards are referenced in the communication tower standards: General Industry 29 CFR 1910.147 - lockout/tagout 29 CFR 1910.151 (29 CFR 1926.50) - medical services and first aid 29 CFR 1910.179 - overhead and gantry cranes 29 CFR 1910.1020 - access to employee exposure and medical records 29 CFR 1910.1200 - hazard communication Construction 29 CFR 1926.55 - gases, vapors, fumes, dusts, and mists 29 CFR 1926.502 - fall protection systems criteria and practices 29 CFR 1926 Subpart N - helicopters, hoists, elevators, and conveyors The following standards may apply when accessing communication towers attached to other structures: General Industry 29 CFR 1910.268 - telecommunications 29 CFR 1910.269 - electric power generation, transmission and distribution Construction 29 CFR 1926 Subpart V - transmission towers Other Applicable Standards The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite. Where can I learn more? Fact Sheets NCDOL Investigates: Communication Towers provides an overview of the investigation process for fatalities resulting from work on communication towers. Compliance Documents Compliance Directive: CPL 02-01-056, Accessing Communication Towers by Hoist, describes the OSH Division inspection policy for uniform enforcement of standards addressing fall protection and safe access to communications towers when using a personnel hoist to take employees to or from workstations. Operational Procedure Notice: OPN 122 - Special Emphasis Program for Communication Towers describes the inspection procedures for the hazards associated with working on or near communication towers. Industry Guides Industry Guide 048 OSHA Construction Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides the requirements of standards related to communication towers in construction Industry Guide 048 OSHA Construction Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides the requirements of standards related to communication towers in general industry Technical Assistance If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.