Cellular Towers Pose Serious Threat to Industry Workers
A communications company based in Missouri is facing federal penalties due to the death of two technicians who were injured while dismantling a cellular tower. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Wireless Horizon, Inc. for “serious” and “will-full” safety violations following the death of two cellular tower workers last March in Blaine, Kansas. Wireless Horizon was asked to pay a penalty of $134,400 for safety violations due to the seriousness of the accident. The two technicians died following the collapse of the cellular tower they were dismantling.
The rapid growth in the cellular communications industry has been accompanied by an increasing number of work-related injuries and deaths. However, this growth should not compel workers to put their lives at risk while at work. The companies building and maintaining cellular towers should comply with federal work safety guidelines. Safety procedures should be implemented to prevent work-related accidents. Workers should undergo suitable training in safety procedures. Companies that ignore safety regulations should be held liable for any accidents resulting in injury or death of their workers. The risks workers are facing include the following:
- Falls from high places.
- Bad weather conditions.
- Problems in lifting people and equipment.
- Electrical hazards.
- Falling objects.
- Breakdown of equipment.
- Tower collapse.
The increasing number of work-related deaths compelled OSHA to collaborate with the industry to identify and manage the safety risks. A letter issued by OSHA last February highlighted the increasing number of deaths in the industry and indicated that the fatal accidents reported last year could have been prevented. As workplace deaths continued to increase, OSHA aims to enhance safety measures for tower workers. New guidelines were issued on the use of hoist systems to lift workers from one elevated workstation to another. The worker safeguards issued by OSHA last February include:
- Adequate training and monitoring of new workers.
- Existing tower workers should utilize suitable fall protection. They should be trained in the proper use of the equipment.
- OSHA will monitor all parties and contracts involved in the industry.
- Contractors and subcontractors should comply with the all the safety criteria of the company.
State programs will assist smaller companies in complying with the requirements of OSHA. The growth in the industry has put pressure on the telecommunications infrastructure of the country. Due to this, companies may overlook safety guidelines when they upgrade their towers.
St. Louis Workers' Compensation Attorney
Cellular industry workers who suffer from work-related injuries are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The services of an experienced Missouri workers' compensation lawyer may be necessary to collect the the rightful amount of benefits.
Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.
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