Relative to past years, this is a somewhat high frequency of fatalities, and it is keeping pace to echo the 18 deaths in 2006, which caused OSHA to condemn the tower industry as the most dangerous in the nation. Despite statistics and trends, in an industry as high-tech and safety-centric as telecommunications, even a single fatality is one too many.
Although there were no deaths, an aging communications tower fell on Chicago's West Side earlier this month, dangling over a sidewalk near a school zone. The tower, which was toppled by strong winds, did not belong to the City or County's Public Safety systems, and there is no word on whether it was being used or who owned the structure.
The safety of tower technicians is paramount, not only to their loved ones, but also to the first responders to whom they are providing the service. It's important to remember this is everyone's problem, and we must all strive to create a "culture of safety," as noted in Bischoff's column. If your agency is working on a new tower construction, please make sure your contractors are vetted (look for National Association of Tower Erectors [NATE] members) and your operations plans include tight safety protocols.
We would love to hear about your tower build concerns, or provide you with services and advice on your next project. Contact EMR today to learn more about this important issue.