A Towering Problem for Worker Safety

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

(Washington, DC) ‐ The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is concerned about the recent spike in the number of fatal communication tower accidents. But not concerned enough to say something until they were spiking.

From 2011 to 2012, communication tower fatalities went down from 6 to 2, or 67%. From 2012 to 2013, communication tower fatalities went up from 2 to 13, or 550%. From 2013 to 2014, communication tower fatalities have gone down from 13 to 4, or 69% – but there have been 4 fatalities in 2014 and we haven’t yet reached the midpoint of March. If the mortality rate holds, 2014 could claim 16 lives, which would mean the 2013 to 2014 communication tower fatalities would go up from 13 to 16, or 23%.

And the likelihood of OSHA being able to spew additional mind-numbing statistics: 100%.

There are many theories as the uptick of fatalities, and OSHA is determined to get to the bottom of this horrifying statistic.

“It’s troubling that communication tower are 25 times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker,” said an OSHA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “That excludes Federal workers, of course. Not much going on upstairs for these folks.”

osha_towersOSHA is leaving no stone unturned, investigating everything from shoddy maintenance practices to job dissatisfaction, from forced overtime to sparse training opportunities.

“We’re even looking into domestic violence possibilities,” said an OSHA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You never know. Spouses could be pushing the workers down the stairs in order to collect insurance money.”

OSHA is so concerned that it has updated its Fatal Facts Web page with a new “Fall from a Telecommunications Tower” Fact Sheet. “These Fact Sheets have been known to prevent all sorts of injuries – except paper cuts,” said an OSHA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But, given the available chart showing the fatalities from recent years, OSHA may have unexpectedly stumbled upon the culprit.

“Well, one thing we can see is the height of these towers,” said an OSHA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Clearly, you can see the tallest tower – the one from 2013 – is associated with the most fatalities. Conversely, you can see the shortest tower – the one from 2012 – is associated with the least fatalities.

“So an obvious solution is to have workers stay away from the taller towers.”

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