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OSHA issues warning about cell tower dangers

You may not have noticed, but the number of cell phone subscribers in North Carolina and across the U.S. has exploded over the last decade. In 2005, there were just over three million subscribers. As of last year, that number skyrocketed to 150 million. To accommodate so many more customers and provide clearer signals, mobile providers have been busy building cell towers.

Unfortunately, workers building cell towers have experienced a number of accidents. In fact, the number fatal accidents attributable to these projects is significantly more than other construction sites. An investigation conducted by FRONTLINE found that people working on cell towers were killed at ten times the rate of other construction workers. Of the construction workers killed between 2003 and 2011, nearly half lost their lives in falls from cell towers. 

This revelation prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a warning to cell phone providers to monitor the safety procedures that go into building and maintaining such towers. The warning was deemed critical because a number of the deaths were attributable to improper safety preparations.

Further, employers have a continuing duty to provide a safe workplace for employees. In doing so, they should have established safety policies that help in minimizing the chance that a worker could be injured. If an employer fails to do so, and a worker is injured, the worker may be able to seek money damages for his or her injuries. Indeed, many injury claims may be resolved through workers’ compensation procedures, but there are some claims that call for a lawsuit against a negligent employer.

Source: PBS.org “Labor Dept. warns of ‘alarming’ rise in cell tower deaths,” Jason M. Breslow, Feb. 13, 2014

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