Natural disasters like floods and hurricanes can be extremely dangerous, especially for tower workers who are some of the first responders who help get our communications back up and running. To do so in a safe and effective manner, OSHA has compiled a list of resources to help tower workers navigate these crucial moments.
OSHA’s Post-Storm Tower Worker Safety Resources
Fortunately, tower workers don’t have to navigate these natural disasters alone. Instead, there are several online resources available through OSHA to help workers determine their best plan of action, including:
- Hurricane Preparedness and Response: Broken into two topic areas, the Preparedness page offers hurricane charts to help determine the size and extent of a storm along with things to consider before a storm arrives. The Response page features an important matrix that provides information on top hazards and risk assessments for response and recovery work in the aftermath of a storm.
- Flood Preparedness and Response: This page also focuses on preparation and response, although the warning signs may be more difficult to recognize. These resources help employers learn how to develop an evacuation plan for a flood and cover the risks of common hazards.
Common Storm-Related Hazards
There are several work-related hazards telecom workers might face during cleanup and recovery. Common threats include:
- Structural Instability: Hurricanes and floods can tear through buildings with dangerous force, damaging structures or even knocking them down completely. Workers should be aware of the threat of collapse and ensure the integrity of any structure before commencing work.
- Electrical Hazards: Downed power lines or damaged electrical equipment may be the most common post-storm hazards tower workers face. Workers should always be cautious around electrical equipment and make sure it is grounded before going near it.
- Noise: Generators and other equipment can be loud, which can be both a distraction and a health risk as it may be hard to hear coworkers over the noise. Furthermore, exposure to high decibel levels can lead to hearing loss.
- Chemical Hazards: Older homes or buildings may contain asbestos and lead, both of which are toxic. Workers should constantly monitor for chemical hazards and take appropriate safety precautions like wearing masks, gloves, and goggles when such hazardous materials have been detected.
- Falls: Walkways can easily become obstructed in a disaster site. Without a clear path, workers are vulnerable to slips and falls.
Insurance for the Elements
It’s critical that tower workers feel safe on the job. Fortunately, USA Telecom provides protection against the elements. Designed specifically for the telecommunications industry, our program includes property, commercial automobile, general liability, workers compensation, umbrella, and drone coverage. If you’re interested in selecting coverage for your tower company or learning more about our insurance options, contact our team today.