One of the foundations of knowledge people working in the wireless and communication tower industry have is the understanding of tower risk classifications. Towers have risk levels that help people in the industry maintain safety and respond to failures in an appropriate manner. These categories apply to structures like commercial office buildings, but they also apply to communication towers.
The first level is Risk Category I, which are structures that have a low risk to human life, well-being, and overall safety in the event of a failure. It also includes towers and other structures that, if they failed to provide service, would not be a serious concern if there was a delay in repairing the problem. Typically, a failure of Risk Category I would only create a problem for the owner while human life and public well being would not be harmed.
Risk Category I can include low-powered radio towers, redundant wireless antennas, and structures that generally allow for rapid repair or replacement.
These are structures that, due to their use or location, represent a moderate risk in the event of a failure and could create damage to the surrounding area. In this category, you will mostly find redundant or backup towers. If the services provided by the tower can easily be provided by other means, it’s likely a Risk Category II.
Commercial wireless communication towers are often Risk Category II, as are television and radio broadcasting towers, and sites that support antennas or similar equipment.
Going higher in risk, these are towers that could create a significant risk in the event of a failure because of their height, use, or location. If these towers were to fall, they would very likely create significant property damage and could even cause injury or death. However, this category also includes structures that, if they failed to provide service, might create issues to power, water, or transportation that would put people at risk.
These towers are ones that are important in the event of an emergency or disaster, and they include communication structures for police, hospitals, and water treatment facilities.
These are the highest of risk, and if they fail, there could be significant harm to the public that extends beyond the general area of the tower. For these towers, fixing the problem cannot be achieved quickly, and failure could, in a sort of domino effect, cause problems with other systems that are important to the public.
This can include towers for fire and rescue, police, and emergency vehicles. Power-generating stations are usually in this category as well.
If you work with towers in any capacity, it’s essential that you understand the basic risk categories. Knowing which towers fall under which categories will help you perform your job to the highest possible standard.
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