As the popularity and widespread use of cell phones continues to increase, so does the need for cell towers. Virginia Beach is currently home to nine FCC registered cell phone towers. The number of unregistered towers in the area is anyone’s guess. The need for these towers means there is a demand for employees fearless enough to work on such ridiculously tall structures. The height alone makes working on cell towers risky, but other elements of these jobs contribute to the danger.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 13 cell tower workers died on-the-job in 2013. This figure is more than twice the number of cell tower worker deaths reported in 2011 and 2012 combined. Four more tower workers died during the first five weeks of 2014, revealing what OSHA calls a disturbing trend.
Unfortunately, major cell phone carriers seem able to avoid the scrutiny that workplace accidents of this nature would otherwise cause. An investigative report by PBS found that the deaths often occurred because cell tower climbers were not properly trained or provided with adequate safety gear. Further, the urgent demand for cell phone service means some of these workers perform their jobs during dangerous weather conditions or even at night.
All of this shines a harsh spotlight on the hazards of working on cell phone towers. While a fall from the top of such a high elevation is almost universally non-survivable, a fall from even a short height could cause severe injuries. In either case, injured cell tower workers or the surviving family members of cell tower victims should certainly speak with a lawyer about workers’ compensation. Like other industries, phone service carriers should not be immune from the consequences of poor or inadequate employee safety measures.
Source: PBS | Frontline, “Labor Dept. Warns of “Alarming” Rise in Cell Tower Deaths,” accessed June 23, 2016