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More Tower Workers Die Amid Major Network Upgrades


JimBob
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'The race to build out advanced cellphone networks in the U.S. has contributed to a spike in deaths among tower workers, making this one of the industry's deadliest years and drawing fresh scrutiny from federal regulators.

 

At least 10 workers have died in falls from communication towers so far this year, and three more were seriously injured. That included four climbers who have fallen from U.S. cell sites so far this month, including one on Saturday.

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OSHA has estimated there are roughly 10,000 workers in the U.S. communication tower industry. Ten deaths may not seem like a huge number, but it is enough proportionally to rank the industry among the deadliest in the country.

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Construction managers say there is so much work this year that many crews are working around the clock and haven't taken days off in weeks. One project manager said crews are working 12- or 16-hour days and, when they get tired, forget to clip on safety lines or clip them on improperly.

 

Workers climb towers hundreds of feet high to replace surfboard-sized antennas and perform general maintenance, such as replacing cables and fixing broken equipment. Constantly attaching and reattaching a safety harness as climbers move about the tower can cut into speed.

 

Earlier this month, two climbers fell at Sprint sites. John Dailey, 49 years old, died after falling roughly 200 feet from a tower in North Carolina. He was attempting to connect his safety harness to the tower when he fell, said a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Labor. David Huynh was working on a Sprint site at the edge of a cemetery in Eugene, Ore., when an aerial lift he was standing in tipped over, police said. Mr. Huynh is in critical condition at Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland, said a hospital spokeswoman.

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Alcatel-Lucent is one of three major contractors managing Sprint's builds, and in May the company instituted a Tower Construction Acceleration Program, which pays contractors a $3,000 bonus for finishing a site on time with no defects. A manager at one contracting company, who pointed out that some jobs pay $12,000 per site, said the bonuses encourage them to work more quickly.

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Payman Biazarikari, an Iranian immigrant, had been in the U.S. for two weeks when he fell about 160 feet to his death earlier this month on a job for nTelos, according to the Waynesboro, Va., police department. nTelos is a wireless carrier operating in several Southeastern states.'

 

MK-CF732_CLIMBE_G_20130821173604.jpg

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Even though it is sad, I don't blame the bonus on the rash of accidents.  As Mike Rowe puts it. "Safety Third"  There are times when you choose to skip safety for expedience sake.  Yes accidents can be avoided, and with the genie lift in the picture, raises questions about what step were skipped, was the ground soft, on a hill, etc?  

 

This always brings to mind the video of they guys climbing a 2000ft tower in what looks like a middle of a brewing storm.  They don't tether off until the top, It's a long climb which would be longer if reset their tether every few rungs.  It's a long drop and they know it, but it's a life they choose and I hope it pays well.  Cause at the top.  They are places that I'm glad I'm not.

 

Keep safe and carry on!

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If your boss said you can get 3k extra next week for driving twice the speed limit and ignoring red lights you might break a few safety and legal rules, and try it. You might kill someone, or yourself too.

 

Bonus on speed where safety is the biggest concern isn't good. They aren't at a desk coding software. No mistake bonus is good, hell even do a safety bonus (no accidents in a month, everyone gets a bonus), but speed bonuses in an extremely dangerous field are bad ideas. Only my opinion though.

 

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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What is the old saying, Fast, Cheap, Good; you can only pick two.  One way to get things done fast is to skimp on safety and as seen, it can be deadly.

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Man this sucks, statistics can be dangerous though. If they have twice as much work this year than last and the accident rate is twice as high, is it actually worse or just more of the same? That isn't to say they shouldn't work in improving safety but it would be interesting to see the statistics based on person hours worked as the press often has an interesting way of presenting facts to their advantage. 

 

I'd love NV to come quicker but never at the expense of someones life. 

 

I worked for a while as a manager for a contractor on the railways, doing a massive upgrade to high speed track. It was a constant battle to keep on top of safety but far better that then having to call a spouse. Prior to that I worked in the petrochem industry and they had an induction video everyone had to watch prior to being allowed on site, I can still clearly remember some of the scenes from industrial accidents. People were literally being sick watching it, but by and large it did work for most people. For the time I was there they had a perfect safety record, nothing beyond a skinned knuckle which isn't bad. There was also a strong culture of identifying potential issues and getting them resolved without any fear of recrimination. Unfortunately the concept wasn't popular elsewhere. 

 

Love the concept of a speed bonus, we also used to have a safety board showing man hours worked since the last accident, felt very good to see that in the millions and no one ever wanted to see it reset to zero. I guess it's part of creating that culture. 

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If your boss said you can get 3k extra next week for driving twice the speed limit and ignoring red lights you might break a few safety and legal rules, and try it. You might kill someone, or yourself too.

Erm, you might. I wouldn't. No amount of money is going to get me to drive twice the speed limit, and especially ignore red lights. That's a nonstop ticket to dead, and you can't spend your cash if you're in a grave, and it's really not worth anything if it all gets sucked up by having to pay hospital bills if you do survive - never mind the traffic tickets and probable loss of your license. It's like saying "I will pay you to kill yourself". That's just bad math.

 

It's like this old analogy: you're working as a deliveryman. Your boss gives you a priceless painting, and says you'll get paid $100,000 on delivery, but you get nothing if the painting is damaged in any way, shape, or form. The analogy tends to ramble a bit from here, and eventually concludes by pointing out that your own life, or the life of your friends and family, is going to be worth a hell of a lot more to you than that. Or it should.

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Alcatel-Lucent is one of three major contractors managing Sprint's builds, and in May the company instituted a Tower Construction Acceleration Program, which pays contractors a $3,000 bonus for finishing a site on time with no defects. A manager at one contracting company, who pointed out that some jobs pay $12,000 per site, said the bonuses encourage them to work more quickly.

 

There's nothing wrong with a bonus in and of itself to finish a site "on time with no defects." That pretty much seems like the definition of a good job. It's not as if the bonus is to finish in half the time. If workers consistently have to cut corners and risk their lives to meet a deadline, then perhaps the problem is with that deadline being too aggressive. It also wouldn't hurt to have a supervisor on site who makes sure safety rules are met, lest the crew forfeit said bonus.

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What is the old saying, Fast, Cheap, Good; you can only pick two.  One way to get things done fast is to skimp on safety and as seen, it can be deadly.

 

In my industry, we say, "Quality, Quantity, Price, Schedule.  Pick the three that are most important to you, because you cannot have all four."

 

I have found it to be true, that no matter how good intentioned and planned, you will always have to be willing to sacrifice one.  If you try to have them all, you will likely fail at one or more anyway.

 

Robert

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Am I the only one to read that and think, "Hmm, I guess nTelos is starting their LTE upgrade after all."??

 

Robert

Ha.. I was thinking the same thing!

 

I think they should also put in the program to fine the contractor when they screw up a site's install. ;)

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Am I the only one to read that and think, "Hmm, I guess nTelos is starting their LTE upgrade after all."??

 

Robert

I doubt that nTelos would be serious about starting the NV upgrades until the expiring contract problem is solved by the signing of a new better contract.  They can not be spending loads of cash to upgrade all the cell sites for Sprint and not be sure of a contract that is agreeable to them.  

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