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Requiring Safety Standards and Transparency in Tower Climbing Industry

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We have a bill in the New York State Senate! Senator Rachel May and Assembly Member Dana Levenberg introduced a senate and assembly bill that provides protections for telecommunications tower technicians, including requiring tower companies to require more safety training for climbers and more transparency in the industry: May S.9179 and Levenberg A.10124

This is a big deal not only for Tower Climbers in New York, but for the entire industry. Together, we’re paving the way for more legislation that protects the climbers that keep us all connected.


Tower climbing is an essential yet dangerous industry, where tower climbers work on towers between fifty and two hundred feet tall. However, there are few regulations and safety standards in place. 

  • Between 2003 and 2022, 166 workers in the cell tower industry died on the job. 
    • In 2021, a tower technician fell 140 feet from a tower in Lawrence, NY.
    • In June 2019, a tower climber form Jamaica, NY died after falling 140 feet from a tower. 
    • In 2011, a tower climber fell 83 feet from a tower in Marcy, NY.
  • These jobs are essential - not only do they provide installation and maintenance work for the cell service New Yorkers rely on every day, but for reliable 911 emergency services as well.
  • The wireless tower labor market is characterized by a multi-layered contracting structure lacking transparency, which leaves workers largely removed from the profitable wireless carriers and wireless tower owners. This can weaken employer accountability for ensuring safe conditions, impacting both workers and the public.
  • Many of these towers are state assets or on state-owned land. As a landlord and as an entity procuring services, New York State has the responsibility to ensure high quality labor standards and protection of publicly-owned assets. 


This bill requires tower services contracts between tower companies and New York State to include certified safety trainings for tower climbers. Additionally, it requires tower companies to share details about the contractors and subcontractors that employ tower climbers, including tower climbers’ wages and any previous violations of labor law. 

The state can use its procurement power to demand better labor standards and subcontractor transparency. Similar legislation and regulations have been passed in New York City, Chula Vista, and San Diego. 


Support Tower Climbers by supporting this legislation! 
For more information, contact: 
CWA District 1, 212-344-2515