OSHA, FCC, NATE Partner on Tower Safety

High-voltage power line tower

In December 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration signed a national strategic partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, Watertown, S.D.

Cooperation among the three organizations is intended to improve worker safety in the communications tower erection industry. 

This is one of many OSHA partnership initiatives. OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program works with employers, employees, professional and trade associations, labor organizations and other interested stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies and performance measures to improve worker safety and health.

The three-year partnership seeks to eliminate injuries and fatalities among workers performing wireless and telecommunications tower erection and maintenance operations and address some of the industry’s most frequently encountered hazards, including falls from heights, electricity, falling objects, tower collapses and inclement weather.

“The demand for wireless communications and broadband services has increased the need for construction, service and maintenance of towers throughout the country,” said Loren Sweatt, former principal deputy assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. 

“Tower technicians do the hard, often gritty, work to build, maintain and upgrade broadband networks throughout the country,” said Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC at the time of the announcement. “As the United States ramps up its 5G rollout, this national partnership agreement will only become more important.”

Jimmy Miller, chairman of NATE, said, “The timing of this national partnership agreement is critical as the association’s member companies and their technician workforce are on the front lines deploying the next generation [of] technologies and broadband infrastructure that are simultaneously enabling a 5G future and helping close the digital divide.” 

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