7 Tower Deaths In 5 Weeks
Three of which were on AT&T projects...
by Karl Bode 03:05PM Wednesday May 28 2008 Tipped by moonpuppy
Tower climbing is one of the world's most dangerous professions
(in terms of death rate per 100,000 employees), something a recent body count spike only highlights. Last month I noted
that five climbers died in a one week period. Two more deaths this month brings the total to seven deaths within five weeks and has brought even greater attention to industry safety practices
. Three of the accidents occurred on AT&T projects, but AT&T is quick to claim it's not because of their HSUPA upgrades
A spokesman for AT&T Mobile confirms that Jonathan Guilford was working on a tower for an AT&T 3G network, but denies that his death or the others had anything to do with the June deadline. "That is a software upgrade," says William Marks. "You go to each tower and use a laptop to perform the upgrade at the base station at the bottom of the tower. There is no need to climb towers."
Of course while the HSUPA upgrades are software, upgrading a market from EDGE to HSDPA does involve hardware work. After the first two deaths last month, AT&T sent this notice to its tower construction subcontractors:
requires you to hold, at a minimum, a half-day safety refresher training course this week with all of your construction employees and subcontractors providing services for AT&T. Upon completion of the safety refresher training this week, AT&T expects that you will reinforce this training with additional random safety checks at the construction sites to ensure that appropriate safety measures are being used.”
has more on the seventh death, a TV tower worker in South Florida. While accidental deaths from elevated structures aren't exactly rare (there were 18 in 2006), the concentrated number of cell tower fatalities are. The industry was fatality free between December 2007 and April 2008.
61 comments .. click to read
|reply to nklb |
Re: It may be dangerous
Most workers will tell you the safety lashings are a pain in the ass. The restraining cable is less than 6' long (much longer than that and the abrupt deceleration will physically harm you, but having known people who have dropped while wearing the safety cables even a 6' drop can mess your back up really bad) so if you are moving around the structure a lot you are constantly having to move the restraint cable and for a task where you are moving constantly and making minor adjustments most workers simply drop the safety cable.
It's a real hassle to get workers to use the safety gear they are provided, in most cases you have to threaten to terminate them as most think they are invincible. The deaths in the industry are likely for the same reasons. It's not that the workers aren't being provided the safety gear, instructed to use it and taught the consequences of not using it, it's that they simply don't like the inconvenience and don't think they will fall. How do you change human nature? This has really nothing to do with any company in particular, it's endemic in the entire work area regardless of the high work being performed, whether it's tieing steel, welding, forming, concrete pouring, communication work or any other type of construction work. OSHA has worked for 30 years to educate people and enforce rules that make the companies provide the safety gear, but they can't force workers to use it when they aren't being directly supervised.