Cell Tower Accidents and the Dangers of Upgrading to 5G

WirelessEstimator.com has been tracking injuries and fatalities of working on cell towers since 2003. Every year, there have been fatalities while people were working on the towers. While the investigations into several fatalities are still open, many have been closed and the companies fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because of safety violations. Contractors, employees and companies could minimize some injuries and deaths by properly training anyone working on cell towers on safety procedures. If you have been injured working on a cell tower, fill this out for a free case evaluation.

OSHA statistics

Since 2003, OSHA has recorded 147 deaths that happened when people were working on cell towers. Of those, 121 cases have been closed — 74 with violations and 47 without violations. If OSHA assessed violations, it also assessed penalties. The highest penalty was $125,000 and the lowest was $300.

As of May 2019, OSHA penalizes for different types of violations. For serious violations and “other than serious violations,” the maximum fine is $13,260 per violation. For failure to abate violations, the fine is $13,260 for every day after the abatement date. And for willful or repeated violations, the fine is $132,598 per violation. In addition to OSHA penalties, employers, contractors, manufacturers and providers may be sued for injuries and deaths.

Preventing injuries and deaths

Those who work on cell towers should be provided with adequate safety training, safety equipment and training in the use of safety equipment. The employer or contractor should also take the available training courses as required, including but not limited to:

  • Unmanned aerial vehicle/drone training.
  • Climber and rescue training.
  • Hazard communication.
  • Trenching and excavation.
  • Defensive driving.
  • Alcohol and substance abuse.
  • General construction safety training.
  • Tower installation.
  • Working with cranes, tower hoisting equipment, man lifts, signalman training and working with general rigging.
  • OSHA courses.
  • First aid.
  • Radio frequency and fiber test equipment.
  • RF safety.
  • Tower technician training.

Additional courses are also available as needed for proper safety training while working on towers that range in height from a couple of hundred feet to thousands of feet in height.

RF safety

In addition to physical injuries from falls and other accidents, radio frequency emissions could injure workers. Overexposure to radio frequency emissions often makes you feel like you have the flu. Employers and contractors should be adequately trained in RF emissions and how to detect them.

The minimum guidelines for working around radio frequency emissions include putting up the proper signage and assuming all antennas are active. In addition:

  • All workers should have emergency medical education awareness training.
  • Employers and contractors must authorize only those with the proper training to be on the site.
  • Disable the transmitters with the appropriate lock-out-tag-out and notify the owners.
  • No stopping should be allowed in front of the antennas.
  • Keep shields on the transmitters.
  • Wear RF monitors while you are working near the antennas.
  • Do not operate base station antennas in an equipment room.

Morgan & Morgan - Where America Goes for Justice

If you have been injured in a cell tower accident or by RF emissions, or a loved one was killed in a cell tower accident, contact Morgan & Morgan by filling out this form for a free case evaluation.

By Jordan Mollins

Writer