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Communication Towers

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FCC Broadcast Repack

Highlights

On March 29, 2016, the FCC commenced the first-ever "Incentive Auction" designed to repurpose spectrum for new uses. Authorized by Congress in 2012, the auction used market forces to align the use of broadcast airwaves with 21st century consumer demands for video and broadband services.

On April 13, 2017 the Commission released a public notice formally closing the auction and beginning the 39-month period during which time some TV stations will need to transition to new channel assignments. As a result, stations that must move to a new channel will have to modify or replace their existing broadcast antennas to transmit on a different frequency; this is referred to as the repacking process.

Hundreds of stations nationwide will be affected by the repacking process, which is being coordinated by the FCC. The repacking process will require a large increase in the numbers of crews working at heights on the towers to complete the work as scheduled.

More information about this process, including details on how the transition works and how it will impact viewers as well as resources for TV stations, winners of new mobile wireless licenses, and other stakeholders is available from the FCC's Initiatives on Broadcast Incentive Auction.

Broadcast Incentive Auction towers

In the spirit of good government, OSHA and the FCC have been already been working together over the past few years to raise awareness about the hazards associated with work on communication towers and to promote safe work practices in the communication tower industry generally. The repacking process is expected to result in a large increase in work on broadcast towers involving complex and unique hazards. OSHA and the FCC are proactively working together to raise awareness about safety in advance of the increased workload and providing information and resources to help ensure that this work will be completed safely.

Information about compliance assistance and other resources to assist broadcasters, tower owners, and contractors ensure communication tower safety are available through the tabs near the top of this page.

Questions?

Email OSHA at oshacommtower@dol.gov.
For immediate response or to report unsafe conditions please call 1-800-321-OSHA(6742).

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