Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why so many tower deaths in 2013?

Glenn Bischoff commented on the tough year in tower safety in Urgent Matters today, citing that while there was 1 death in 2012 (a record), there have already been 10 tower-related fatalities in the first eight months of this year.

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.

A large tower toppled from a building, possibly during weekend storms, and was dangling Tuesday morning over a sidewalk.
NBC Chicago

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.

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