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New Tower Safety Standards Approved

"It’s going to be very relevant for FM broadcasters using hoists and rope depending on the height of the tower"

New tower safety standards adopted by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) will be of interest to radio broadcasters, particularly those with FM systems. The revision is expected to help improve communication between engineers and contractors in the planning and assessing tower construction and maintenance.

Broadcasters making changes or alterations to an existing tower or planning a new tower project will be affected, says James Ruedlinger, chair of the TIA TR-14 committee and manager engineer at Crown Castle. TIA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute.

The new standard — really two new separate standards to replace an existing one — will be published in September and take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Gone will be the TIA-1019-A standard adopted in 2012, Ruedlinger says. The two new standards, a joint effort of TIA and the American Society of Safety Engineers, were developed for two distinct audiences in construction planning and implementation.

“These new standards will apply to any type of installation, alteration and major maintenance work. If there are no immediate plans for major upgrades or maintenance work on an existing facility, there really isn’t too much content pertinent to broadcasters right off the bat,” Ruedlinger says. [Read more in our earlier story here.]

He recommends radio broadcasters obtain copies of the ANSI/TIA-322 and ANSI/ASSE A10.48 standards, familiarize themselves with the content and reach out to engineering firms that specialize in structural analysis work if they have questions.

“For radio broadcasters, most of their tower work is done with blocks and pulley assemblies attached directly to the tower. TIA-322 provides much more content on the forces involved in the block systems, which are heavily utilized for FM construction and maintenance work. It’s going to be very relevant for FM broadcasters using hoists and rope depending on the height of the tower,” Ruedlinger said.

Once available, the 70-page ANSI/TIA-322 – “Loading, Analysis, and Design Criteria Related to the Installation, Alteration and Maintenance of Communication Structures” along with other TIA standards may be purchased online.