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4 Deaths in First 5 Weeks of 2014

I hope when we use our cell phones next time, we will consider the workers who died putting up the towers.  Recently on January 31st a cell tower maintenance worker fell to his death from a cell tower.  This is only one of four deaths in the first five weeks of 2014, which puts it well on the way to the 2013 record of 13 cell tower worker deaths.  Cell tower workers are exposed to height hazards that require them to continually stay tied off to prevent falls.

OSHA is concerned about the number of injuries and fatalities in cell tower work as voiced by Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, Tower worker deaths cannot be the price we pay for increased wireless communication.  Employers and cell tower owners and operators must do everything possible to stop these senseless, preventable tragedies.

I’m sure that competition for contracting cell tower work is high and pushes companies to get more work done for as little as possible.  It is not unusual for me to interact with supervisors and workers during my workshop or seminar who think that they have to get the job done at the risk of injury.  However, I have yet to meet a company executive that has said they care more about production than the safety of their employees.  Risky safety attitudes of supervisors and workers can greatly impact the safety culture.

Does the act of working in a high-risk workplace create safety attitudes that seem to disregard personal injury?

Have you ever watched Axe Men on the History Channel?  In the episode I watched these men were putting their lives and limbs (no pun intended) at risk to become “King on the Mountain.”  The safety attitudes of the axe men and their employer’s are not the safety attitudes I have encountered in most industrial workplaces, thank goodness!  When we consider the barriers that prevent injuries in the workplace, attitude is still number one.

It takes discipline to work in a high-risk workplace and there is no place for a poor safety attitude.  Lack of discipline can lead to mistakes and increase the opportunity for an injury.  Take some time to consider your personal safety attitude and how it impacts your ability work safe, or supervise your workers to work safe.


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2 Responses to 4 Deaths in First 5 Weeks of 2014

  • John says:

    as the safety manager for a tower firm in the northwest I have gotten my guys on track with the idea of being safe and going home at the end of the day. I have heard the horror stories of free climbing and items being dropped off of the towers. I have chosen to work with regulators and with Nate to help not only my crews but other crews out there so we can change the image of the tower workers, yes they are a lot like the old iron workers but now days most iron workers are very careful.

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