A new standard aimed at protecting workers who install, alter or maintain communication towers offers the first comprehensive approach reducing injuries and saving lives in industry that has rapidly expanded in recent years, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

On August 3, 2016, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved A10.48, Criteria for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition, Modification and Maintenance of Communications Structures the first voluntary national consensus standard strictly dedicated to protecting workers in the communications tower industry.

Fatal falls

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 13 communication tower workers were killed in 2013 and another 11 were killed 2014, leading to efforts by OSHA to focus inspection resources on the industry and to work with the communications tower industry to address the risks. Most of the fatalities were the results of falls from heights.

The new standard establishes minimum criteria for safe work practices and training for personnel performing work on communication structures including antenna and antenna supporting structures, broadcast and other similar structures supporting communication related equipment.

Years of work

“A10.48  is the culmination of 13 years of work by ASSE and hundreds of other industry volunteers who identified safety best-practices in putting this standard together,” said Richard King, Chairman of the A-10 Committee that developed the standard and saw its approval by ANSI. “A10.48 brought some of the best minds in the industry to tackle a serious problem for the telecommunications industry. We broke down each activity related to working on a communications tower and provided safety measures that we hope will reduce injuries and fatalities.”  

ANSI is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary standards for United States industry through a process that allows all stakeholders to participate in a carefully followed process that builds consensus towards standards that can govern products, services and industry processes like the protection of workers from safety and health risks. ASSE is a Standards Development Organization managing voluntary standards developed through ANSI to help industry manage workplace risks. A variety of A10 standards protect workers in demolition and construction.   

The new standard will go into effect beginning in January 2017. For more information on A10.48, visit