Cell Tower Deaths on PBS Frontline 5/22/12

PBS Frontline in conjunction with ProPublica will present “Cell Tower Deaths” premiering on May 22, 2012 on PBS stations. No, this story is NOT about radio frequency emissions concerns. Rather, it focuses on the risk of building and servicing cell towers. Those risks are significant.

According to PBS:

The smartphone revolution comes with a hidden cost. A joint investigation by FRONTLINE and ProPublica explores the hazardous work of independent contractors who are building and servicing America’s expanding cellular infrastructure. While some tower climbers say they are under pressure to cut corners, layers of subcontracting make it difficult for safety inspectors to determine fault when a tower worker is killed or injured.

Why are tower workers 10-times more likely to die than regular construction workers (as claimed by PBS)?

You’ll see one reason in my February 2012 post titled, “Is Tower Building a Dirty Job?

Take a look at the clip. About 36 second in to the Dirty Jobs clip you’ll see the owner of a tower construction company attach his safety belt hook to a tower section not yet bolted to the rest of the tower.

In my opinion, what you see at that moment is an amazing deadly lack of judgment, especially for the owner of a tower construction company. Even if he’s double tied-off to the tower, were the free-floating tower section were to fly off or drop, he would be split in two (metaphorically, if not in reality). I wonder if his poor judgment is a model for his employees? I certainly hope not. I’ll bet his Workers Comp insurance carrier hopes not, as well.