View Post

Tower technician dies during a South Dakota nighttime climb

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

South Dakota authorities have informed Wireless Estimator that a 23-year-old tower technician fell to his death from a cell tower on Thurs., Jan. 10, 2019 and was pronounced dead at the scene. A Pennington County Sheriff’s spokesperson said that the deceased worker was Andrew Michael Psomas. They did not have readily available his home address. Psomas, who made his first …

View Post

Shocking tower collapse video shows an erector just two seconds away from death

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Missouri State University (MSU) has released surveillance videos of the horrific 1,891-foot-tall guyed tower collapse that occurred in Fordland, Mo. on April 19, 2018 that killed a 56-year-old owner of a Washington state tall tower erection company. OSHA’s report, stating that both the managing consultant and the tower contractor were both at fault for the collapse, is available here. The …

View Post

Contractor and consultant share blame in deadly 1,891-foot tower collapse: OSHA

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a report detailing that an April 2018 tower collapse that killed Steve Lemay, 56, resulted due to design and construction failings by the managing consultant, Tower Consultants, Inc. (TCI) and the contractor, Steven Lemay LLC. The 1891-foot-tall guyed tower in Fordland, Mo. is owned by Missouri State University (MSU) and was …

View Post

Fund set up for MasTec construction manager’s family after he died in weekend tower collapse

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

On Saturday morning, Ken Mitchell Waddell, 30, of Crossville, Tenn. kissed his wife, Cadie, and their five children goodbye and drove 45 minutes to Cookeville to help erect a 70-foot guyed tower for a ham radio operator on private property. Late in the afternoon, expecting him to be home shortly for dinner with their five children, she  received  the horrific news that her …

View Post

Puerto Rico death is second industry tower tech fatality in April

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

A 28-year-old tower technician died Saturday after he was electrocuted while working on an AT&T LTE installation in Puerto Rico. According to sources knowledgeable of the incident, Josean Matos Rodriquez, employed by FM Technology Group of Dallas, Tex., was working on a residential rooftop when he came into contact with a 13kv power line. Authorities said the incident occurred at 10:50 …

View Post

Services set for Alabama tower tech, the nation’s first 2018 fatality

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Services have been set for Melvin Ronnie Nelson, Jr., 34, a resident of Foley, Ala., who passed away Mon., April 2, while working on a new Verizon tower installation in Utica, Miss. Nelson was the first industry-related fatality in 2018. According to Hinds County Sheriff Major Pete Luke, “The tower was being erected just off Hwy. 27 near Bear Creek …

View Post

ISP worker falls to his death from a backyard broadband tower

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Update: January 2, 2018 – OSHA has opened their investigation into the workplace accident that took the life of technician Richard C. Andrews, the eight industry fatality in 2017. In 2016 there were seven fatalities. Update: January 1, 2018 – Services have been announced for Richard C. Andrews, age 31, a resident of Manitowoc, Wisc. who fell from a tower …

View Post

Top 10 industry stories in 2017 trailed with one fake news article

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Below are the top 10 articles that appeared in Wireless Estimator during 2017 based upon the number of views each one received, such as the September rigging accident that claimed the lives of three industry workers. It had 6,000 Facebook likes, was shared on LinkedIn over 900 times, and had been viewed over 48,000 times With Wireless Estimator’s safety-centric audience …

View Post

Weekend Kansas fatality is nation’s 7th industry death in 2017

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

January 3, 2018 – UPDATE:  Authorities have released a statement that  Clayton Donnell Barnhill of Grayson, La., was working on a communications tower fell approximately 320 feet to the ground from a 420-foot guyed tower. Based on reports by the Trego County Sheriff’s Office, a coworker on the tower with the deceased heard the deceased “click” his safety harness on, then …

View Post

Tower tech’s 150-foot fall in Mississippi is nation’s second 2017 fatality

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Update: May 3, 2017 – Kris Edward Runyon, 39, has been identified as the tower technician who fell from a Crown Castle guyed tower near Meridian, Miss. yesterday evening and was pronounced dead at the scene. A resident of Portsmouth, Ohio, Runyon had been working for D&K Nationwide Communications Inc. of Bristol, Conn. for the past year, but according to the …

View Post

Crane collapse takes the life of a 51-year-old Texas industry worker

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Update: April 26, 2017 – The cell tower compound that RMCI’s crane toppled into is owned by Crown Castle International. April 25, 2017 – A 51-year-old industry worker was killed yesterday afternoon when a crane tipped on its side in downtown Dallas, Tex., crashing into a cell tower compound in the 1700 block of Arts Place, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue …

View Post

California wireless contractor and his family killed in Oregon plane crash

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

A well-known and respected California contractor and his family were killed Friday while on a college scouting trip when their plane crashed in a rural field in Oregon. Authorities said John A. Zitting, 42, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; his wife, Karen Blackmore Zitting , 37; and their son, John Brendan Zitting, 17, were headed to Eugene to visit the University …

View Post

Texas space program post says student was never in danger while climbing tower

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

A representative of the Eldorado Space Program, an Eldorado, Tex. high school program that teaches students to design instrumentation packages and launch them into space, said on its Facebook page Saturday that a cover story photograph in the March edition of QST published by the National Association for Amateur Radio, represented an inaccurate, unsafe depiction of a student climbing a …

View Post

Cover girl climber shot could send high schoolers to their death

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Commentary – The March issue of a well-respected magazine published by The National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL) will most likely latch onto the literal lunacy award for depicting in a photograph the most egregious tie-off violations one could imagine. In QST’s latest edition, their antenna issue, the cover shows a picture of Chase Mertz of Eldorado, Tex. climbing a …

View Post

Checkered contractor loses lawsuit after two tower tech deaths

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Based upon substantial evidence to support their findings, a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has kayoed a wireless contractor’s final attempt to vacate the company’s serious violations of OSHA’s General Duty Clause and $7,000 in fines they received following an accident that killed two of their employees on May 28, 2013. Both men, employees …

View Post

Services set for tech who fell from a 160-foot Oklahoma monopole

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

UPDATE: Nov. 7, 2016 – Services have been announced for Steven Lamar Hill, 44, of Chandler, Okla. by the Barnes Friedrich Funeral Home, 1820 South Douglas Blvd., Midwest City, Okla. beginning at 1:00 p.m., Nov. 9, 2016. Interment will follow at Elmwood Cemetery in Choctaw, Okla. UPDATE: Nov. 3, 2016 – Authorities have released the name of the deceased tower …

View Post

Cop’s shooting of tower tech had none of the outrage being shown in Charlotte death

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

After a Charlotte, N.C. police officer ten years ago shot and killed an AFL Network Services tower technician, Anthony Wayne Furr, 41, while he was working in a Sprint equipment shelter, the officer said he was in fear of his life and was exonerated. Sadly, following Tuesday’s killing of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by police, Furr’s children will revisit the memories …

View Post

Wives of murdered tower techs sue the Coast Guard for wrongful death

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

The wives of two Alaskan tower technicians who were gunned down by a co-worker filed a lawsuit against their husbands’ employer, the U.S. Coast Guard, stating that it should have been known that their spouses’ murderer, James Wells, “was a disgruntled and dangerous employee.” The August 5, 2016 complaint by Nicola Belisle and Deborah Hopkins, is seeking over $1 million …

View Post

Tower tech who was shot by his co-worker passes away in San Antonio

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Update: August 11, 2016 – A memorial service for Brandon Cartwright will be held on Tuesday, August 16 at 10:30 a.m. at Northeastern Junior College, Sterling, CO. An altercation between two tower tech co-workers on July 28 in San Antonio, Tex. sent one of the men to University Hospital after he was shot in the chest and the other to jail where he’s …

View Post

New York county fire official is killed while at tower site doing maintenance

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

The top fire official in Tioga County, N.Y was killed yesterday when a county pickup truck struck him while backing up, according to the county’s sheriff’s department. Tioga County Fire Coordinator John Scott, 71, of Campville, was one of several employees who were performing maintenance at a county radio tower on Carmichael Rd. in the Town of Owego when he …

View Post

State by state industry deaths analysis provides a linch pin for continuing dialogue

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

For 13 years, Wireless Estimator has been compiling data on industry-related fatalities, and presented that information last month to a dozen public and private safety professionals for analysis to see if there are any common threads that could be explored to reduce tower climber deaths. The only commonality, however, was that although there were 116 fatality incidents since 2003, assigning any significance based upon …

View Post

Veteran tower climber, helping ham radio operators, succumbs after a fall in Arizona

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Update: June 12, 2016 – Andrew Milton ‘Milt’ Jensen, 73, who died when he fell from a tower located on Mount Lemmon in Pima County, Ariz. on Thursday while volunteering his services to an amateur radio club, had been climbing professionally for a number of years and had safety training, according to a family member who announced services today that …

View Post

Kentucky fall claims the life of a West Virginia tower technician

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Update: May 25, 2016 – The tower technician who died yesterday had been working on a project installing a 310-foot self-supporting tower for Appalachian Wireless. The Federal Communications Commission’s database identifies a construction completion date of May 25, 2016. Appalachian Wireless has built a number of towers recently. In March, they built one in Mud Creek, Ky. and in April, …

View Post

OSHA is readying new RF, fall protection and hoist standards

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had known that fall protection in the wireless construction industry has either been used improperly or inconsistently due to the high fatality rate of tower climbers, after analyzing the responses to their 38 questions on tower safety published last April, the agency has decided that it will be moving forward with revising their standards …

View Post

Ohio cell tower climber’s death wasn’t industry related

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

A 20-year-old man who fell 70-feet from a cell tower in Oxford, Ohio on Thursday and died, was not an industry-related fatality, according to Miami University Police Chief John McCandless, who said it was a sophomore majoring in university studies from Seoul, Korea, and Beijing, China Although a number of industry workers contacted Wireless Estimator on Friday, stating that they …

View Post

Over $13,000 in fatality citations vacated after Virginia’s OSH ignores a filing deadline

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

UPDATE: March 24, 2016 – Summit Tower Construction co-owner Allan Hadfield said today that although he welcomed the dismissal by a Waynesboro, Virginia Judge of six Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) citations based upon a judicial filing technicality, following a 2013 fatality, he and his attorneys were prepared to show that his employee’s death was caused by an equipment …

View Post

Crew and subcontracting requirements could change with proposed OSHA/FCC best practices

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

If the best practices (BPs) being developed by the Federal Communications Commission and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration are implemented nation-wide, it is likely that the industry will see a marked improvement in fatality and injury counts. It will also assist in reducing the number of companies in the industry that provide lower bids because they’re not burdened by …

View Post

FCC Chairman’s zero fatality message is clear even with slightly different fatality count

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Thursday’s message at the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the Federal Communications Commission workshop was loud and clear as stated by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “The industry that provides world-class wireless service must have world-class safety for its employees and contractors. Period,” said Wheeler in his opening remarks during the half-day session (video available here) at FCC headquarters in …

View Post

SBA seeks at least $1 million from two contractors after towers collapse

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Boca Raton, Fla.-based SBA Telecommunications LLC and SBA Towers have filed a property damage lawsuit against S&S Communication Specialists Inc. of Oklahoma, and FDH Engineering, located in North Carolina, following the collapse of two communications towers that resulted in the death of three people. The complaint filed last month, asking for at least $1 million, states that both companies were …

View Post

Former OSHA construction safety chief believes some companies see agency’s fines as a ‘business cost’

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

Jim Maddux, Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Directorate of Construction, retired at the end of December from the position he held since Dec. 20, 2010. During his leadership at OSHA he was instrumental in creating a serious conversation about climber safety in America, and shepherding new proactive initiatives targeting the telecom industry. He began his carrer with OSHA …

View Post

Removing five diagonals and loosening 12 others cited for causing deaths, injuries

In Featured News, Incident Report News, Safety, Standards by Wireless Estimator

Four lawsuits that were filed in June against a tower owner and the contractor it hired to design and manage a structural reinforcement project in West Va. where two tower technicians died and two were injured after a tower collapsed, have worked their way from circuit court to federal court, and the defendants are alleging that it was the tower …

View Post

Ernie Jones succumbs following tragic tower elevator-related accident in Oklahoma

In Featured News, Incident Report News, Safety, Standards by Wireless Estimator

An industry icon who helped shape and advance structural and safety initiatives during his service to the tower industry was killed yesterday in an elevator-related accident on a broadcast tower in Oklahoma City, Okla., according to individuals knowledgeable of the incident. Although there are few verifiable details, Ernest “Ernie” Jones had reportedly been working with a crew on KOCO’s broadcast …

View Post

Texas climber succumbs to injuries after falling from water tower

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

Update: September 1, 2015: The employer of the 21-year-old Texas tower technician, Pedro Samuel Salazar, who died yesterday, Orbit Broadband, released the following statement: “We at Orbit are deeply sorrowed by this and our prayers go out to the individual and his family. There is an ongoing investigation and we are working with all those involved. Out of respect for …

View Post

Climber’s fall in Rhode Island proves to be not industry related

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

Bloggers, social and industry media began asking yesterday whether a man who fell from a cell tower was an industry worker because they had viewed a link to an NBC 10 news video which, other than stating that someone had fallen off the tower, provided no details, nor did they. The ensuing speculation resulted in dozens of emails and numerous …

View Post

Sheriff’s report: Woman’s death in March was 2015’s first fatality

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

Although OSHA has not stated whether 28-year-old Stephanie Gurney’s death on March 28, 2015 was industry related when she fell off of an SBA Communications tower near Eden, Tex., a Concho County Sheriffs Office Deputy’s report obtained by Wireless Estimator identifies that the woman was being assessed for her ability to climb by the owner of Jostan Communications for possible …

View Post

OSHA cites wireless contractor with $114,800 fine following painter’s death

In Incident Report News, Safety by Wireless Estimator

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration has issued a $114,800 fine for an Indiana wireless contractor, which it charges did not provide adequate protection for a 49-year-old worker who fell about 90 feet to his death while painting a communication tower on August 10, 2014. Thomas Lucas of Toledo, Ill. fell 80 to 90 feet while painting a communications …

View Post

South Carolina technician, 44, is 10th industry worker to die this year

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

UPDATE: Authorities have identified the tower technician who fell approximately 100 feet from a cell tower in Greeneville, Tenn. yesterday as 44-year-old Allen Lee Cotton of Sumter, S.C. Two of his co-workers from Central USA Wireless did not see him fall, according to Greeneville Police Officer Shawn Hinkle’s report which provided information regarding the 12:25 p.m. incident. “Mr. Cotton was …

Technician succumbs following a 100-foot fall in Greeneville, Tennessee

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

A tower technician fell to his death this afternoon in Greeneville, Tenn., according to Greene County EMS Director Robert Sayne, who said he was at approximately the 100-foot level when the incident occurred. Sayne did not have any additional information. An individual familiar with the worker’s death, said the tech was working on an Ericsson project for Sprint on a 197-foot …