As cellphone carriers rush to upgrade their networks to provide consumers with faster wireless speeds on their phones, they are be putting certain workers at risk for being injured or killed on-the-job. The cellphone tower industry has seen an increase in fatal accidents in the United States, alarming the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In 2013, 13 fatalities occurred in the tower industry in the U.S, according to OSHA. Fatalities in the tower industry last year were higher than the last two years put together. The increase in fatalities in the tower industry highlights the serious risks workers face.
Tower workers are most likely to be seriously injured or killed from falls. Falls from heights can be very dangerous and result in fatal injuries. In addition to the risk of falling, workers can also be killed by falling objects, equipment failures and structural collapses.
In response to the increase in fatalities and serious risks tower workers face, OSHA sent a letter to cellphone tower contractors and the companies that use them about the importance of complying with safety standards and regulations. OSHA warned the companies that they could be held liable or face penalties if they don’t try to prevent falls and fatal accidents in the tower industry.
It is not surprising that the tower industry has a high risk of falls due to the heights at which workers perform their tasks. However, it is important for contractors and companies that use tower workers to be aware of these risks and that they take steps to reduce accidents and injuries in the future. Hopefully the OSHA letter will serve as a warning to these companies to take swift action to prevent accidents in the future.
Source: NASDAQ, “OSHA Warns Companies After Rise in Cellphone Tower Deaths,” Ryan Knutson and Melanie Trottman, Feb. 11, 2014