Cellular Towers: America’s Risky Business
Some jobs are less glamorous than others, and cell tower workers certainly fall into that category. Ascending, maintaining, and repairing towers is a dangerous profession that requires a calm demeanor, astute concentration, and not to mention immense physical strength. While the onset of the cell phone industry in recent years has created thousands of jobs, that does not mean the job itself is any less dangerous.
We’ve become digitally entrenched in recent decades, and our appetite for ever-faster cellular connections has continued to grow. A stark increase in tower construction and additions has created more opportunities, but the large demand has also led to more unsafe practices and cost-cutting.
The statistics support this increase– according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in just the four-year period from 2013-2016, there were 34 cell workers killed in work accidents. The majority of these incidents involved workers falling to their deaths from heights in excess of 100 feet.
This doesn’t have to be the “new normal.” Cellular companies are expected to go above and beyond the base criteria put in place by OSHA to ensure the safety of all of their workers, especially those performing precarious duties. Injured workers should always consider seeking legal representation after an accident. The cell tower accident lawyers from Van Law Firm may be able to help get you the reimbursement you need to get back to full health and continue working.
The Data Behind the Risks
According to an in-depth report on cell tower accidents from ProPublica, the number of tower sites nationwide has increased from around 5,000 in 1990 to over 250,000 sites today. In order to keep up with demand, cell companies have adopted the practice of subcontracting the work out to third and fourth-party crews, to distance themselves from the accidents and injuries that the workers inevitably sustain.
The data given in the report indicates that the fatality rate for tower workers is ten times higher than regular construction workers, but if you look at OSHA’s accident investigation archives, there is not a single report listed for the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.).
This is not an industry secret; cell companies know the risks that workers are exposed to, yet they continue to expand their networks with the help of subcontracted labor. Steve Watts, a former risk manager at AT&T, has said that there is “no question that the pressure to build out the network has been a contributing factor to fatalities.”
Frequent Types of Cell Tower Accidents
In terms of cell tower accidents, there are certain types that we see most commonly in the personal injury field. These include:
- Defective or inadequate safety equipment
- Deadly falls from immense heights
- Tower collapse or structural damage
- Extreme electrical shock
- Being struck by falling objects
- Hazardous weather conditions
In addition to the accidents mentioned above, darkness and limited visibility from working at night was also a common factor. Oftentimes carriers will shut off towers when workers are present, so they will attempt to work through the night when less customers are using their phones. This facilitates unsafe working conditions by operating with limited light
Connect With Cell Tower Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was hurt or killed in a cell phone tower incident, consider contacting the cell tower accident attorneys from Van Law Firm right away. We can help you navigate through the legal process of a personal injury, workers’ compensation, defective product, or wrongful death claim.
Call our office nearest you to get started with a free, no-obligation consultation. When you work with us, you don’t work at all– we handle the case from beginning to end so that you can focus on getting rested and getting back to work. With hundreds of 5-star reviews, our supporters are always on display. Will you join them?