[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 72 (Wednesday, April 15, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20185-20189]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08633]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR 1910, 1926

[Docket No. OSHA-2014-0018]
RIN 1218-AC90


Communication Tower Safety

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Request for Information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: OSHA is aware of employee safety risks in communication tower 
construction and maintenance activities and is requesting information 
from the public on these risks. This RFI requests information that will 
assist the Agency in determining what steps, if any, it can take to 
prevent injuries and fatalities during tower work.

DATES: Comments and other information must be submitted (postmarked, 
sent, or received) by June 15, 2015. All submissions must bear a 
postmark or provide other evidence of the submission date.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments and additional materials, identified by 
Docket No. OSHA-2014-0018, using any of the following methods:
    Electronically: Submit comments and attachments electronically at 
http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 
Follow the instructions online for making electronic submissions.
    Facsimile: Commenters may fax submissions, including attachments, 
that are no longer than 10 pages in length to the OSHA Docket Office at 
(202) 693-1648; OSHA does not require hard copies of these documents. 
Commenters must submit lengthy attachments that supplement these 
documents (e.g., studies, journal articles), by the applicable 
deadline, to the OSHA Docket Office, Technical Data Center, Room N-
2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20210. These attachments must clearly identify the 
commenter's name, the date of submission, the title of this RFI 
(Communication Tower Safety), and the docket number (OSHA-2014-0018) so 
the Agency can attach them to the appropriate facsimile submission.
    Regular mail, express delivery, hand (courier) delivery, or 
messenger service: Submit a copy of comments and any additional 
material (e.g., studies, journal articles) to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Docket No. OSHA-2014-0018, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. 
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; 
telephone (202) 693-2350 (TTY number: (877) 889-5627). Note that 
security procedures may significantly delay the Agency's receipt of 
comments and other written materials sent by regular mail. Contact the 
OSHA Docket Office for information about security procedures concerning 
delivery of materials by express delivery, hand delivery, or messenger 
service. The hours of operation for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 
a.m.--4:45 p.m., E.T.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency's name 
(OSHA), the title of this RFI (Communication Tower Safety), and the 
docket number (OSHA-2014-0018). The Agency places all submissions, 
including any personal information provided, in the public docket 
without change; this information will be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the Agency cautions commenters about 
submitting materials that they do not want made available to the public 
or that contain personal information (either about themselves or 
others) such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and medical data.
    Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the 
docket, go to: http://www.regulations.gov, or to the OSHA Docket Office 
at the address above. While the electronic docket at http://www.regulations.gov lists documents in the docket, some information 
(e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or 
download through this Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted 
material, are available for inspection at the OSHA Docket Office. 
Contact the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket 
submissions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information regarding this Request for 
Information is available from the following sources:
    Press inquiries: Contact Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of 
Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; email: [email protected]; 
telephone: (202) 693-1999.
    General and technical information: Contact Erin Patterson or 
Jessica Douma, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, OSHA 
Directorate of Construction, Room N-3468, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; emails: 
[email protected] or [email protected]; telephone: (202) 693-
2020; fax: (202) 693-1689.
    Copies of this Federal Register notice: Electronic copies are 
available at http://www.regulations.gov. This Federal Register notice, 
as well as news releases and other relevant information, also are 
available at OSHA's Web page at http://www.osha.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Exhibits Referenced in This RFI
II. Background
    A. Introduction
    B. Hazards and Incidents
    C. Training and Certification
    D. Applicable OSHA Standards
    E. Consensus Standards and State Standards
III. Request for Data, Information, and Comments
IV. Authority and Signature

I. Exhibits Referenced in This RFI

    Documents referenced by OSHA in this request for information, other 
than OSHA standards and Federal Register notices, are in Docket No. 
OSHA-2014-0018 (Communication Tower Safety). The docket is available at 
http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. For 
additional information on submitting items to, or accessing items in, 
the docket, please refer to the Addresses section of this RFI.

II. Background

A. Introduction

    Communication towers are tall structures that carry antennas for 
wireless, cellular, radio, or broadcast television communications. 
There are three common types of communication towers: free-standing or 
lattice towers, guyed towers, and monopole towers.

[[Page 20186]]

Communication towers can range from 100 to over 1000 feet tall.
    Increasingly, antennas are being installed on structures other than 
communication towers, e.g., on water towers, on electrical and 
telephone poles, and on the roofs of buildings. These alternative 
structures are often used in more densely populated areas where the 
construction of large communication towers is impractical or 
impossible, e.g., due to zoning restrictions.
    The construction and maintenance of communication towers is highly 
specialized work. This work often involves workers climbing the towers 
via ladders or being hoisted to workstations on the towers via base-
mounted drum hoists. To erect new towers, workers lift tower sections 
or structural parts using a base-mounted drum hoist, with or without a 
gin pole. Workers can also use cranes to raise tower sections. Towers 
are constructed piece by piece; workers bolt each section or piece into 
place before raising the next section. Non-erection construction 
activities can include reinforcing the structure, upgrading antennas, 
and installing new antennas on existing towers (referred to as 
colocation). Workers also climb towers to perform maintenance 
activities such as painting structural steel members, changing light 
bulbs, and troubleshooting malfunctioning equipment. During the 
performance of work activities involving communication towers, workers 
are exposed to a variety of serious hazards, including fall hazards, 
hazards associated with structural collapses, struck-by hazards, 
hazards associated with worker fatigue, radio frequency hazards, 
hazards associated with inclement weather (including extreme heat and 
cold), electrical hazards, and cut and laceration hazards due to the 
use of sharp, heavy tools and materials.
    Work on communication towers often involves complex business 
relationships among multiple companies. Many communication towers are 
owned by dedicated tower companies, rather than broadcast or cell phone 
companies (carriers). The tower companies then lease space on the 
towers to wireless carriers. When a carrier needs to undertake a large-
scale installation or upgrade project, it will contract with a 
construction management company (called a ``turfing vendor''). The 
turfing vendor typically hires specialized subcontractors to perform 
specific elements of the project, and those subcontractors may further 
contract with other companies to perform some of the work. It is not 
uncommon to have as many as six or seven layers of subcontractors 
between the carrier and the company that employs the workers who 
actually perform the work (or certain parts of the work). This business 
structure poses challenges to setting and enforcing safety rules and 
ensuring the well-being of employees.
    In this RFI, OSHA is seeking information about the causes of the 
employee injuries and fatalities that are occurring among employees 
working on communication towers. The Agency is also seeking comments on 
safe work practices for communication tower activities, training and 
certification practices for communication tower workers, and potential 
approaches the Agency might take to address the hazards associated with 
work on communication towers.

B. Hazards and Incidents

    A search of OSHA's Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) 
database for both fatal and non-fatal incidents involving communication 
towers revealed 107 incidents from 2003 through 2013 (Docket ID OSHA-
2014-0018-01).\1\ These incidents resulted in 91 fatalities and 17 
injuries. Most of the fatalities (79) were due to falls. Structural 
collapses killed an additional eight people. Three fatalities involved 
electrocutions, and the last fatality was due to an employee being 
struck by a load while working on the tower. According to the IMIS 
data, falls were also the leading cause of injuries among communication 
tower workers, with 13 of 17 injuries resulting from falls (Docket ID 
OSHA-2014-0018-01).
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    \1\ This data includes incidents that occurred as a direct 
result of working on or with a communication tower. Incidents at 
communication tower worksites resulting from unrelated factors, such 
as a crane tipping over due to bad ground conditions, are not 
included. Moreover, these figures probably do not include all 
incidents that occurred in the relevant time period, as they are 
derived solely from OSHA investigation data. The IMIS database, for 
example, will not include incidents that involve individuals not 
covered by OSHA, e.g., the self-employed. The current IMIS database 
generally includes incidents only when they involve at least one 
fatality or three or more hospitalizations.
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    2013 was the deadliest year for communication tower workers since 
2006. According to 2013 OSHA incident investigation reports, there were 
a total of 15 incidents resulting in 13 fatalities (as well as 3 
injuries that required hospitalization). Of the 15 incidents identified 
in the 2013 reports, 11 involved falls, and of those falls, 9 were 
fatal. Structural collapses accounted for two fatalities, and two 
fatalities were the result of employees being struck by suspended 
materials while working on a tower (Docket ID OSHA-2014-0018-01).
    The leadership of the Department of Labor, OSHA, and the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) recently organized and participated in 
a workshop on communication tower work for industry stakeholders and 
government agencies. The event, held on October 14, 2014, included two 
panel discussions with representatives from tower climber advocacy 
organizations, the owner of a tower erection company, media 
representatives, carrier representatives, a tower owner representative, 
and a government relations liaison for a wireless infrastructure 
industry group. The first panel focused on the causes of tower climber 
fatalities and ways employers can prevent such fatalities. The second 
panel focused on industry-wide solutions that can be implemented by 
carriers, tower owners, and turfing vendors. Chairman Thomas Wheeler of 
the FCC and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez spoke at the event and 
called for the agencies and industry stakeholders to collaborate in an 
effort to identify best practices and steps that the industry can take 
to address the hazards faced by communication tower workers. A video 
recording of the event can be found at http://www.fcc.gov/events/workshop-tower-climber-safety-and-injury-protection.

C. Training and Certification

    Given the highly specialized and dangerous nature of the work that 
tower workers perform, employee training and preparation are critical. 
Many companies provide training to tower climbers. These training 
courses typically last two to five days and consist of a classroom 
component and a practical training component, with a final assessment 
of skills and knowledge. Topics covered during these courses typically 
include: fall protection procedures, climbing safety and planning, 
hazard assessments, and basic emergency and rescue protocols. Upon 
successful completion of these courses, participants receive a 
certification card from the company that provided the training. 
Although there is no standard threshold for certification, most 
companies that issue certification cards assert that their 
certifications meet standards in the National Association of Tower 
Erectors (NATE) Tower Climber Fall Protection Training Standard as well 
as other applicable standards from OSHA, the American National 
Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Safety Engineers 
(ASSE).

[[Page 20187]]

    Recently, there have been some developments in employee training 
and preparation resulting from government and industry collaboration. 
The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) 
has developed a registered apprenticeship program for tower climbers in 
collaboration with a board of stakeholders. The goal of the Tower 
Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) is to provide an 
industry-wide standard of training and employee development. The 
founding documents for TIRAP were signed on October 14, 2014.

D. Applicable OSHA Standards

    At present, OSHA standards do not provide comprehensive coverage of 
communication tower construction activities. OSHA's standards for fall 
protection in construction (29 CFR 1926, subpart M), which generally 
require the use of fall protection at heights of six feet and greater, 
will apply in some situations, although those standards do not cover 
the erection of new communication towers (see 29 CFR 
1926.500(a)(2)(v)). Fall protection requirements for the construction 
of new communication towers can be found in 29 CFR 1926.105, which 
requires the use of safety nets when workplaces are more than 25 feet 
above the ground or water surface, or other surfaces where the use of 
ladders, scaffolds, catch platforms, temporary floors, safety lines, or 
safety belts is impractical (see 29 CFR 1926.105(a)). Additionally, 
communication tower construction activities are exempt from OSHA's 
requirements for steel erection activities (29 CFR 1926, subpart R); 
subpart R does not cover electrical transmission towers, communication 
and broadcast towers, or tanks (29 CFR 1926.750(a)).
    Maintenance work on communication towers is governed by OSHA's 
general industry standards at 29 CFR part 1910. There are a number of 
general industry standards that apply to communication tower 
maintenance activities. Most specifically, the telecommunications 
standard at 29 CFR 1910.268 applies to the work conditions, practices, 
means, methods, operations, installations and processes performed at 
telecommunications field installations, such as communication towers 
(see 29 CFR 1910.268(a)(1)). A key provision in the telecommunications 
standard is Sec.  1910.268(c), which addresses training. That provision 
requires employers to provide training in the various precautions and 
safe practices described in Sec.  1910.268 and insure that employees do 
not engage in the activities to which Sec.  1910.268 applies until such 
employees have received proper training. The telecommunications 
standard also contains requirements for fall protection (see 29 CFR 
1910.268(g)). Paragraph (g) of Sec.  1910.268 generally requires 
employers to provide, and ensure the use of, safety belts and straps 
when work is performed at positions more than 4 feet above ground, on 
poles, and on towers (see 29 CFR 1910.268(g)(1)).
    When existing standards do not apply to a particular hazard at a 
communication tower worksite, employers still have a duty to protect 
employees under the General Duty Clause (section 5(a)(1)) of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 654(a)(1)), which 
requires each employer to ``furnish to each of his employees employment 
and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that 
are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to 
his employees.'' OSHA has used the General Duty Clause in some cases 
involving accidents on communication towers. For example, in March of 
2014 OSHA issued a General Duty Clause citation in a case involving a 
double fatality caused by improper rigging on a communication tower. 
OSHA found that the employer was aware of, but failed to follow, 
industry standards and practices for safely rigging the jump line block 
for the gin pole.

E. Consensus Standards and State Standards

    There are several consensus standards that address hazards in the 
erection, construction, and maintenance of communication towers. The 
Telecommunications Industry Association standard TIA-222-G, Structural 
Standard for Antenna Supporting Structures and Antennas (Docket ID 
OSHA-2014-0018-04), addresses the structural design elements associated 
with the fabrication of new, and the modification of existing, antenna-
supporting structures. The TIA-1019-A standard, Standard for 
Installation, Alteration and Maintenance of Antenna Supporting 
Structures and Antennas (Docket ID OSHA-2014-0018-05), addresses the 
loading of communication towers under construction and the use of 
specialized equipment, including gin poles, hoists, and temporary guys. 
There is an ANSI standard currently under development, ANSI A10.48, 
which will address safety practices for the construction and 
maintenance of communication towers. This standard may be approved 
within the next two years.
    Two states have dedicated standards governing communication tower 
construction and maintenance. These states, North Carolina and 
Michigan, promulgated communication tower standards following multi-
fatality incidents. North Carolina's standard (Docket ID OSHA-2014-
0018-03), which became effective in 2005, covers the construction, 
alteration, repair, operation, inspection and maintenance of 
communication towers (see 13 NCAC 07F.0600 et seq.). It includes 
provisions for employer responsibilities, fall protection and fall 
protection systems, non-ionizing radiation, hoists and gin poles, and 
employee training. The Michigan standard (Docket ID OSHA-2014-0018-02), 
promulgated in 2009, governs construction, alteration, repair, 
operation, inspections, maintenance, and demolition activities on 
communication towers (see Michigan Administrative Code R 408.42901 et 
seq.). It contains provisions on fall protection, emergency response 
protocols, training, training certification, hazard identification, 
hoists, hoisting personnel, gin poles, catheads, and capstans. 
Washington State is planning to update its telecommunications standard 
and held stakeholder meetings on the subject in July, 2014.

III. Request for Data, Information, and Comments

    OSHA is seeking information to aid it in evaluating the hazards 
that workers face on communication towers. The Agency seeks information 
on: the types of hazards that communication tower workers encounter; 
the types of incidents (both fatal and non-fatal) that occur as a 
result of exposure to those hazards; and the best methods employers can 
use to address those hazards. The Agency identifies specific issues on 
which it is seeking comment later in this section of this RFI.
    OSHA requests comments from wireless carriers and all parties 
involved in the contracting chain, including turfing vendors, 
engineering firms, tower owners, tower construction and maintenance 
companies, and field staff, e.g., tower technicians who perform work on 
the towers. Based on its review of the information provided by the 
public in response to this RFI--and other OSHA research activities--the 
Agency will determine what additional actions, if any, to take to 
address hazards associated with work on communication towers. 
Commenters should identify the role they play with respect to the 
performance of work on communication towers and be as detailed as 
possible in their comments.

[[Page 20188]]

Also, to the extent possible, commenters should identify the specific 
question(s) they are addressing (e.g., by referring to the questions 
being answered using the numbers provided in the list below).

Questions for Tower Climbers \2\
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    \2\ While the questions under this heading are specific to tower 
climbers, OSHA strongly encourages tower climbers to consider and 
respond to all questions in this Request for Information.
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    1. As a tower climber, what are the most significant hazards that 
you encounter on the job? What circumstances or conditions create or 
contribute to these hazards?
    2. What steps do you take, at this time, to complete your work 
safely? What safety-related work practices do you think should be in 
place?
    3. What safety rules and work practices are provided to you, and 
who provides you with that information?
    4. Who assigns and oversees your work? Who provides your training 
and checks your equipment? When at a jobsite, to whom would you report 
a potential safety issue?
    5. What specific steps do you think employers can take to make 
tower work safer?
    6. How, and to what extent, does the design or configuration of 
towers, and equipment installed on towers, affect your ability to 
complete your work safely?

Training and Certification

    7. Tower hands/climbers, please describe the training and 
certification required for your job. Employers, please describe the 
types of training and certification you require for your employees.
    8. What commercial training programs are currently available? What 
are the topics covered by the programs? Are the programs adequate to 
prepare employees to work safely on communication towers?
    9. Is there a need for a standardized, industry-wide training or 
certification program?
    10. From your perspective given your role in the contracting chain, 
what does a tower climber need to know to do his or her job safely?
    11. How do employers evaluate employees to ensure that they have 
been adequately trained, especially when employees receive their 
training or certification elsewhere? How do companies determine if 
employees are proficient in the topics covered by the training or if 
re-training is necessary? Do employers offer site-specific training 
that addresses specific types of towers and equipment?
    12. For employers who contract out work (e. g., carriers, turfing 
vendors), what contract language or oversight mechanisms do you use to 
ensure that work is done by trained and/or certified workers?

Suitability for Work

    13. Are employees directly engaged in tower work assessed for 
physical fitness? If so, how? Are physical fitness requirements and 
assessments addressed in contracting agreements?
    14. What physical limitations should employers be aware of when 
assigning an employee communication tower work? What hazards might be 
associated with such limitations, and how could those hazards be 
mitigated?

Hazards and Incidents

    15. Falls: Falls are currently the leading cause of fatalities 
among communication tower workers. OSHA believes that many falls result 
from the improper use of fall protection equipment or the failure to 
use any fall protection equipment at all.
    a. How are employers addressing fall hazards?
    b. Are employers providing appropriate fall protection equipment to 
employees? Is it maintained and replaced when necessary?
    c. What factors contribute to employees failing to use fall 
protection while climbing or working?
    d. Are there situations in which conventional fall protection 
(safety nets or personal fall arrest systems) is infeasible? What 
alternatives can employees use for fall protection in those situations?
    e. What are the ways in which fall protection systems or anchorage 
points on communication towers can fail? How can these failures be 
prevented?
    f. Should OSHA require built-in fall protection measures on new 
towers? Existing towers? Would such a requirement enhance worker 
safety?
    16. Structural issues: When new equipment is added to communication 
towers, the additional loading of the tower has the potential to 
overload or destabilize the structure. Older towers may need additional 
reinforcements to maintain their structural integrity as new equipment 
is added to them. Communication tower collapses have resulted in 
numerous fatalities in the past two years. Which contractual party 
bears responsibility for ensuring that any structural work on the 
tower--such as modification or demolition--is done safely from a 
structural perspective? What steps are employers currently taking to 
prevent collapses?
    17. Hoisting materials and personnel: Base-mounted drum hoists are 
often used to hoist materials and personnel to working heights on 
communication towers. Hazards arise if hoists that are not rated for 
lifting personnel are used for that purpose. OSHA is aware of incidents 
in which hoists have failed under such conditions. Also, overloading 
material hoists and improper rigging procedures can result in loads 
striking the tower structure or workers located on the tower. OSHA 
knows of several deaths in the past two years that have resulted from 
these types of incidents.
    a. When are personnel hoists used?
    b. What types of hazards are associated with personnel and material 
hoists? What are the best practices for safely managing those hazards?
    c. How are capstan hoists used in tower work? In what types of 
operations can they be used safely?
    d. What are the most common types of rigging hazards that occur on 
communication tower worksites? What can employers do to eliminate or 
minimize those hazards?
    e. Are there methods, other than the use of a hoist or a crane, 
that can be used to lift material and personnel at a communication 
tower? Which methods and procedures are the safest?
    f. What are the roles of different levels of the contracting chain 
in managing rigging and hoisting activities?
    18. Radio Frequency Hazards: Much research has been done on the 
health effects of overexposure to radio frequencies. General health 
effects reviews have found that high levels of exposure to radio 
frequencies may result in burns. In addition, the link between exposure 
to radio frequencies and cancer, reproductive diseases, and 
neurological effects has not been thoroughly explored.
    a. What methods are employers using to protect workers from 
overexposure to radio frequency?
    b. Is there a need for employers to institute comprehensive radio 
frequency monitoring programs on communication tower worksites? What 
would a good program look like?
    19. Weather: Communication tower workers work outside during all 
seasons, and in all climates. They can be exposed to heat, cold, wind, 
snow, and ice. Storm conditions can quickly arise when workers are at 
elevation, and it can be difficult to descend the tower quickly.
    a. What are the specific weather-related hazards to which 
communication tower workers are exposed?

[[Page 20189]]

    b. How does a crew monitor and respond to changing weather 
conditions, including storms?
    20. Fatigue: OSHA believes that fatigue can affect communication 
tower workers in several ways. Climbing a communication tower is 
physically demanding, and OSHA is concerned that fatigue due to 
exertion can be hazardous for tower workers. Accelerated work timelines 
can also result in tower workers working very long hours. And OSHA 
understands that communication tower workers may travel long distances 
to reach remote worksites, which can result in workers being fatigued 
before they even begin work.
    a. What hazards are faced by a worker who finds it physically 
challenging to perform expected tasks, such as climbing a tower or 
performing a self-rescue? What impact can this have on other crew 
members?
    b. What are the common causes of worker fatigue at communication 
tower worksites?
    c. What are the effects of fatigue on tower worker safety, and what 
types of incidents occur as a result of worker fatigue?
    21. Other common hazards:
    a. What other hazards are present in communication tower work, and 
what types of incidents are resulting from those hazards? What can be 
done to protect employees from those hazards?
    b. What are some health and safety considerations involved in 
working with communications equipment installed on non-dedicated tower 
structures, such as water towers, buildings, silos, electrical 
transmission towers, etc.?

Contracting and Work Oversight

    22. Describe your role in the contract chain and the key safety-
related provisions typically included in your contracts. How do 
contracting parties oversee or enforce those provisions? What are the 
consequences if a party fails to fulfill those contractual 
requirements?
    23. What characteristics of past safety performance does your 
company use in selecting potential contractors and subcontractors? What 
safety-related criteria does your company use in this selection 
process?
    24. Are safety-related factors considered in determining whether to 
remove a contractor/subcontractor from an ongoing project or from 
future selection processes? If so, what specific factors are 
considered?
    25. What are the ways in which the multi-leveled contracting 
environment (i.e., where entities such as the carrier, tower owner, 
turfing vendor, subcontractor, and contractors hired by the 
subcontractor all have some role in the project) impacts employee 
safety at communication tower worksites?
    26. What practices might companies in the contracting chain adopt 
to encourage communication and coordination among employers at tower 
work sites? What obstacles stand in the way of communication and 
coordination between different parties in the contracting chain?

Economic Issues

    27. The Agency seeks information on the number and size of firms 
that are engaged in communication tower work and on the number of 
employees employed by those firms.
    28. The Agency seeks information about wage and turnover rates for 
employees who work on communication towers. The Agency is also 
interested in information about the experience possessed by workers 
currently doing communication tower work. Are they usually experienced 
in this type of work? Are there many new or inexperienced employees 
working on communication towers?
    29. What types of equipment are used in tower work and how often is 
this equipment repaired and/or replaced?
    30. The Agency seeks information from all employers in the 
contracting chain about the extent to which employees directly engaged 
in tower work are covered by workers' compensation and/or an employer 
liability insurance policy.

Tower Design

    31. Can towers be designed and built with elevators for lifting 
personnel or materials? Can towers be built with booms or davits aloft 
to aid in hoisting materials?
    32. How would elevators or davits affect productivity/efficiency, 
e.g., the amount of time spent on the tower? How would elevators or 
davits address or cause any safety hazards at the site? For example, 
would elevators or davits address hazards related to employee fatigue?
    33. What are the industry standards for providing fall protection 
anchor points on new towers?

Regulatory/Non-Regulatory Approaches

    34. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of an OSHA 
standard that covers both construction and maintenance activities on 
communication towers?
    35. What effects have the North Carolina and Michigan regulatory 
approaches had on work practices and climber safety in those states?
    36. Should an OSHA standard be limited to work performed on 
communication towers, or should it also cover towers used for other 
purposes?
    37. If OSHA does not initiate a dedicated rulemaking for work on 
communication towers, what other types of regulatory actions might be 
necessary and appropriate?
    38. What non-regulatory approaches could OSHA take to address 
hazards faced by employees working on communication towers?

Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the direction of David Michaels, 
Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and 
Health, U.S. Department of Labor. It is issued pursuant to sections 
3704 et seq., Public Law 107-217, 116 STAT. 1062 (40 U.S.C. 3704 et 
seq.); sections 4, 6, and 8, Public Law 91-596, 84 STAT. 1590 (29 
U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); 29 CFR part 1911; and Secretary of Labor's Order 
No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012)).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on March 27, 2015.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2015-08633 Filed 4-14-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4510-26-P