The growing demand for wireless and broadcast communications over the past three decades has spurred a dramatic increase in communication tower construction and maintenance – one that exposes workers to specific hazards.

In order to erect or maintain communication towers, employees regularly climb towers, using fixed ladders, support structures or step bolts, from 100 feet to heights in excess of 1000 or 2000 feet. They must do this throughout the year, including during inclement weather conditions.

OSHA recorded a total number of 13 communication tower-related fatalities in 2013, 12 in 2014, 3 in 2015 and 6 in 2016.

Some of the more frequently encountered hazards include:

  • Falls from great heights
  • Electrical hazards
  • Hazards associated with hoisting personnel and equipment with base-mounted drum hoists
  • Inclement weather
  • Falling object hazards
  • Equipment failure
  • Structural collapse of towers

Falls are a major fatality cause

Here are some of the fatal incidents which have occurred in the industry over the past decade:

OSHA is working with industry stakeholders to identify the causes of these injuries and fatalities, and to reduce the risks faced by employees in the communication tower industry.


NEW Communication Tower Best Practices [PDF] - OSHA/FCC Joint Publication. A guide to establish accepted practices for performing communication towers work safely. (June 2017).