Managing Risks in the Telecommunications Industry
Any professional industry has some risk and safety compliance involved. Some industries, like the telecommunications industry, are more risky than others. Telecommunication jobs are often underappreciated and overlooked. The dangerous work done in this industry fuels our everyday lives and is responsible for a good portion of our modern conveniences. Let’s take a closer look at what these teams provide, the safety protocols and training that is necessary and how Industrial Compliance can help your Telecommunications business stay compliant.
What Do Telecommunications Workers Do?
Telecom workers are vital to maintaining the ability to communicate and receive information of virtually everyone in the world. After all, telecom workers are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the circuits that power the internet. Without the internet, we would have a hard time working, learning, entertaining ourselves, and connecting with loved ones. The impact of the internet even reaches out to some of life’s basic needs such as food(grocery stores payment systems) and our health (doctors offices charts, rx’s etc). The internet holds our society together making telecommunications a high stakes industry. If your company primarily performs telecommunications work, then you may be asked by your hiring client to become certified — probably with Gold Shovel Standard®, ISNetworld®, or Avetta®. Certification for telecommunications workers is most common in the United States, but can be required globally. Industrial Compliance is available to assist you with these certifications regardless of company location.
What Risks Do Telecommunication Workers Take?
Telecommunications workers are often performing their work at great heights. Telecom masts are typically between 50 and 160 feet tall, and most utility poles are about 35 feet tall. A fall from any of these heights can result in injury or death, given the right circumstances.
Additionally, telecom workers perform nearly all of their work outdoors. This brings environmental and weather-related risks, such as severe storms, cold, and heat. Telecom workers must take special precautions to protect themselves from the potential of severe weather, and measures must be in place to shut down operations in extreme cases.
Telecom workers also face the risk of struck-by accidents. As most of the work involves heights, workers can be struck by falling objects, materials, and tools. Operators must ensure that all power lines are properly installed and that all overhead loads are thoroughly secured to prevent these kinds of accidents.
Finally, telecom workers are constantly interacting with high-voltage circuits. If power lines are not properly de-energized before work begins, then workers face the risk of electrocution and fire.
Manage Your Workers Risks with the Right Safety Manuals & Programs
There are many safety programs that you can adapt to your company to protect your employees. Some of the most common safety programs required for telecommunications work include:
- Environmental Awareness
- Severe Weather Response
- Fall Protection and Prevention
- Electrical Safety
- First Aid/CPR Training
Do I Need New Telecommunications Safety Programs?
If you haven’t completed certification (with ISNetworld®, Gold Shovel Standard®, or a similar pre-qualification service), then you might not have a formal manual of safety programs for your company. Telecommunications is quite a small industry and for many years did not have specific safety regulations in place. OSHA changed that in 2017 by putting formal safety regulations in place for this sector.
Safety programs are critical for the proper training of your employees. Having written safety programs is a great way to prevent workplace incidents and injuries. By having a standardized telecommunications safety manual, you can ensure that all employees have undergone the same training and are working with the same base of knowledge regarding workplace tools and materials. Otherwise, training can be disorganized, and employees may not develop a full understanding of safety practices.
If you have already been certified, then you should have a catalog of all required safety programs for your company. You will be notified if you are required to update or add safety programs to your account. Additionally, you may consider updating your safety programs after an incident or near-miss, to prevent future incidents.
At Industrial Compliance & Safety, we can look at the specifications of your hiring client, the nature of your work, and the regulations of OSHA to write a custom telecommunications safety manual for your company. Let us assist you and your company with a detailed safety manual that will help make training smoother and can be used for submission to certification programs.