Communication Towers

Communication Towers

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is a communication tower?

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.

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.

Solutions

Solutions

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.

Regulations

Regulations

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

The following OSH standards are referenced in the communication tower standards:

General Industry

Construction

The following standards may apply when accessing communication towers attached to other structures:

General Industry

Construction

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite. 

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

Fact Sheets

Compliance Documents

Industry Guides

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 ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.