OSHA To Cell Carriers: Maybe Somebody Could Better Equip And Train Cell Climbers So They Stop Dying?
from the this-shouldn't-be-happening dept
As such, OSHA this week fired off a letter to cell carriers (via PBS), urging them to do a better job in, well, not letting their employees die:
"OSHA has found that a high proportion of these incidents occurred because of a lack of fall protection: either employers are not providing appropriate fall protection to employees, or they are not ensuring that their employees use fall protection properly. As a result, communication tower climbers are falling to their deaths...I am writing to remind you that it is your responsibility to prevent workers from being injured or killed while working on communication towersThat this is something that companies need to be reminded of is fairly sad, especially since they get reminded of it every several years or so. That doesn't seem to be improving training and subcontractor hiring practices all too much, especially at certain companies. A ProPublica and Frontline investigation from 2012 found that between 2003 and 2011, 50 climbers died working on cellular sites, half of the 100 total number of deaths on all communications towers and ten times the average for general construction work. The report noted the deaths were usually because technicians "were shoddily equipped or received little training before being sent up hundreds of feet." Some companies' track records on this front were better than others:
"One carrier, AT&T, had more fatalities on its jobs than its three closest competitors combined, our reporting revealed. Fifteen climbers died on jobs for AT&T since 2003. Over the same period, five climbers died on T-Mobile jobs, two died on Verizon jobs and one died on a job for Sprint.AT&T's biggest spike came as the company rushed to address problems post-2009 about the iPhone's impact on the ill-prepared AT&T network. The OSHA letter doesn't single out companies for the rash of 2013-2014 deaths, though carriers bury themselves in layers upon layers of subcontractors to minimize cost and liability. With the billions being made each quarter by the wireless industry (particularly with the recent migration to pricey, low-cap, shared data plans) the steep human cost of bit transfer is inexcusable.