The telecommunications industry offers steady, year-round employment. Overtime sometimes is required, especially during emergencies such as floods or hurricanes when employees may need to report to work with little notice.
Telecommunications line installers and repairers work in a variety of places, both indoors and outdoors, and in all kinds of weather. Their work involves lifting, climbing, reaching, stooping, crouching, and crawling. They must work in high places such as rooftops and telephone poles, or below ground when working with buried lines. Their jobs bring them into proximity with electrical wires and circuits, so they must take precautions to avoid shocks. These workers must wear safety equipment when entering manholes, and test for the presence of gas before going underground.
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers, generally work indoors-most often in a telecommunication company’s central office or a customer’s place of business. They may have to stand for long periods; climb ladders; and do some reaching, stooping, and light lifting. Adherence to safety precautions is essential to guard against work injuries such as minor burns and electrical shock.
Most communications equipment operators, such as telephone operators, work at video display terminals in pleasant, well-lighted, air-conditioned surroundings. If the worksite is not well designed, however, operators may experience eye strain and back discomfort. The rapid pace of the job and close supervision may cause stress. Some workplaces have introduced innovative practices among their operators to reduce job-related stress.
The number of disabling injuries in telephone communications, the principal sector of the telecommunications industry, has been well below the average for all industries in past years. In 2001, cases of work-related injury and illness were 3.0 per 100 full-time workers, significantly lower than the 5.3 per 100 full-time workers for the entire private sector.