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Fatal cell tower collapse continues 'disturbing trend'

Although the specific work accident in this story didn't happen in Denver or even the state of Colorado, it points to a wider issue that affects many workers all across the country.

Everyone enjoys their speedy wireless service on their smartphones, right? Well, have you ever stopped to think about what it takes to get you that service? Thousands of workers are constantly working to ensure that cell towers are up and operational, and then they have to perform routine maintenance and upgrades on the towers so that you service can go from 3G to 4G, and so on down the line. These workers often work high in the air as they dangle on the cell towers. Obviously, this is a dangerous and precarious position to be in.

That brings us to our story: two cell tower workers died after the tower collapsed, bringing a warning made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last month into focus. OSHA warned that cell tower accidents were becoming entirely too common. In 2013, 13 cell tower worker deaths occurred, which is more than in 2012 and 2011 combined. And in the first five weeks of this year, four cell tower workers died. OSHA has labeled these cell tower accidents and deaths a "disturbing trend."

OSHA sent out a warning to cell tower contractors and cell service providers last month, urging them to better protect their cell tower workers. They need thorough training and safety equipment, in addition to many other forms of support, to protect them while they perform this dangerous job.

Source: KSDK, "Communication tower collapses and fatalities 'alarming trend'," Leisa Zigman, March 26, 2014

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