Prevent injuries and falls during telecommunication tower erections

Tower erection

If we target India and its tower erection plans, we can deduce the same from the following – 

  • More than 500 million people use smartphones

And on the global scale, 

  • The current population is 7.8 billion as of 2021. Interesting fact is that the number of smartphone subscriptions significantly exceeds the number of people on the planet.

And this comes off as the back of an extraordinary period of growth.

To sustain the usage, there is an ever-increasing need to expand the number of telecom towers that aid in improving network coverage to all the subscribers and cope over the call dropouts.

With the urban sprawl taking place, the widespread use of telecommunication towers has upped the game for construction of telecommunication towers. 

Yes, they hold transmitting devices for cellular phones, personal communication devices and radio broadcast antennas.

Talk about statistics on the number of towers constructed – in United States alone, 75000 telecommunication towers have been erection and 1,000 are erected each year.

But, with erection, comes hazards, and with them, injuries, and accidents.

So, if we go by the older stats, NIOSH review identified 118 deaths associated with work on telecommunication towers (includes falls, tower collapses and electrocutions).

Mind you, electrocutions are for real, and a great reason for deaths!

Here’s an example –

Isn’t that a gripping episode?

Here’s another case that reminds the purpose safety serves to everyone:

On December 8, a male tower erector stood working with a crew of 2 others on a 160-feet cellular phone tower.

The tower was erected and the further process involved lowering the gin pole (device used to hoist tower sections in place). After removing two choker poles, he tried to hoist the cable down.

While trying to hook to the cable and missing the larger opening, the lanyard slipped off and he fell 160-feet down on the ground.

Here the contributing factors remain –

  1. Hoist failure
  2. Inadequate fall protection
  3. Failure to attach lanyard to the tower
  4. Attachment of lanyard to incompatible tower components

Other factors in incidents in tower hazards are 

  • Poor planning and improper equipment can derail the whole premise.
  • Electrical hazards
  • Employee fatigue
  • Inclement weather
  • Drop hazards (falling objects)
  • Insects and animals

Additionally read – Tower erection hazards

How should employers respond to tower safety?

  • Ensure that hoisting equipment that is used for lifting workers is critically designed and prevents uncontrolled descents. Is effectively rated for use. 
  • Make sure that hoist operators get properly trained. 
  • See that workers opt for 100% fall protection as they work on towers at heights above 25 feet. 
  • Protection systems should stay compatible with the tower components and then the tasks should be performed.
  • Give workers the OSH-specific PPE and its training for proper use. 
  • Ensure that workers properly inspect their equipment daily and make sure that one can identify any damage or deficiencies. 
  • Provide workers with adequate work-positioning device systems. Connectors on those systems should be compatible with the tower components to the areas where they are attached.
  • Supplement worker training when it comes to safe work practices with serious and thought-provoking discussions that help assure and conclude that workers fully appreciate the hazards involved in their tasks. They realize that it is the need for strict safe work practices.

Installing safely on- board

While erecting towers, no matter how long or complicated are the safety procedures and considerations, through vitality, one can condense them to limited moments.

Training via a variety of visual aids lets the stakeholders fantasize situations that are ticklish to depict through conventional training styles – e.g. A life- menacing condition wherein a tower incident needs to be recreated, an electrical conjuncture etc.

To save the workers from serious injuries and casualties, it’s necessary that the medium through which they take training should have the capability to make it easy and comforting, especially like a movie. 

Something that makes the intended communication seamless and doesn’t prompt significant cerebral strain.

Safety in tower constructions mean that towers are duly maintained, safely reachable and provisioned with finagled harbourage points. In case of employees, they must be lessened and timely retrained, be apprehensive of conditions that could affect their capability to climb safely etc.

Vitality increases the reach and quality of safety training, making them ideal to give last nanosecond, just- by- time literacy support.

How can workers supplement their employer’s efforts?

Workers must make sure that they are using 100% fall protection when working on towers at heights above 25 feet. When training programs are conducted, they participate in all the training programs offered. 

It is often seen that employees tend to ignore the lessons they take when safe work practices are emphasized.

Worker training programs are there for a reason and it inhibits the nature of responding to changing, hazardous work scenarios. So, be there and follow the learnings.

OSHA-required PPE is a trust factor – employees should opt for it and make sure that they are aware of their usage.

And at last, proper inspections on their side is necessary at intervals because they are the ones who are using it and any damage to the equipment can pose a serious threat to their lives.

Have an eye over prevention and vouch for it!

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