OSHA Plans to Revise Tower Fall Protection, Hoisting Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to revise its standards for fall protection and hoisting related to communications towers. “While the number of employees engaged in the communication tower industry remains small, the fatality rate is very high. Over the past 20 years, this industry has experienced an average fatality rate that greatly exceeds that of the construction industry, for example. Falls are the leading cause of death in tower work and OSHA has evidence that fall protection is used either improperly or inconsistently,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a spring 2016 regulatory agenda released last week.

“Employees are often hoisted to working levels on small base-mounted drum hoists that have been mounted to a truck chassis, and these may not be rated to hoist personnel. Communication tower construction and maintenance activities are not adequately covered by current OSHA fall protection and personnel hoisting standards, and OSHA plans to revise the standard,” OMB added. “Revisions would clarify the safety responsibilities regarding tower work, structural considerations and Radio Frequency hazards. It would also consider incorporating the new industry consensus standards for construction or maintenance of communication towers.”

OMB said that a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel would be initiated in July. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily