OSHA and Tower Climbing industry

OSHA and Tower Climbing industry 2The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) and Tower Climbing industry has had a tenuous relationship right from the start.

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA’s administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.

OSHA policies are for every employee as follows:

  • You have the right to a safe workplace.
  • OSH Act was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work.
  • The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers.
  • The Act sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards.
  • OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers and employers.
  • Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards.
  • If you have a question about your rights or a workplace hazard and you cannot find the information you need on OSHA’s website, contact us.

On the other hand, for the past two decades there is the proliferation of Tower Climber industry. Tower Climbers are a specialized group of trained and skilled workers. (www.towerclimber.com) Nearly 10,000 men and women work mostly in the wireless communication business operated by major carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

OSHA and Tower Climbing industry 1Due to the massive rise of cell phone wireless and digital use, this career has been called the most dangerous job in the United States. There has been a steady rise in deaths of tower climbers. And the number is increasing.

Many see OSHA and major communication carriers as the main culprit. None of the carriers have been held responsible for fatalities. The major carriers have passed the responsibility on to subcontractors.

The bottom line is that in spite of OSHA being a government regulatory agency of the US federal government, little has been done to improve the health and safety of tower climbers. There is a lack of enforcement and no solutions that improve the occupational hazards that exist.

Despite the overabundance of media coverage, little progress has been made. However, there are tower climber families who are involved in lawsuits against major carriers. Other than that, there has been mostly passing the buck than anything else. While there has been a plethora of suggestions made, nothing has turned into any type of accountability from major carriers who continually evade regulations and enforcement.

In the meantime, independent tower climber contractors and employees continue to be at risk. For now, the system is broken.

In Memoriam
The latest Tower Climber death.