||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2014)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
A tower climber is a technician who performs maintenance and repair on radio masts and towers.
Prior to the 1980s, communication and broadcast tower erection, servicing and maintenance was a very small and highly specialized industry. Over the past 30 years, the growing demand for wireless and broadcast communications has spurred a dramatic increase in communication tower construction and maintenance.
What tower climbers do
Tower climbers perform routine inspections and tests on broadcasting towers, and may also be called upon to perform repairs and to provide input when plans for new equipment are being developed.
Along with the installers of the tower antennas, other crews climb the towers to perform condition checks of the towers, guidelines and lighting systems. One of the most demanding aspect of many tower climber jobs is found in the task of bringing materials and tools up to the proper installation height on the tower. In most cases, the climber will scale the tower to the desired height and lower a rope to a ground crew member who will then tie the rope to a needed part that has been pre-assembled on the ground, if possible. The tower worker will then pull up the piece to the installation height and secure the rope before beginning to install the part onto the tower.
Tower climbers may be injured or killed by falling objects, structural collapses and equipment failures. 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; and structural collapse of towers.
Working on cellphone towers is the deadliest job in the United States, according to a trade publication, and it has been claimed that the tower climbing industry experiences 10 times more death casualties than the construction workers. There were 50 - 100 deaths from falls from communication towers between 2003 and 2011. The head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) once called tower climbing “the most dangerous job in America.”
The OSHA is working with industry stakeholders to identify the causes of injuries and fatalities, and to reduce the risks faced by employees in the communication tower industry.
- "In Race For Better Cell Service, Men Who Climb Towers Pay With Their Lives - ProPublica". propublica.org. Retrieved 2014-07-12.