Fatal fall is industry’s first in 2011
February 22, 2011 - A 43-year-old Georgia tower technician fell to his death from a 300-foot self supporting tower in Okeechobee, Fla. on Sunday.First tower fatality of 2011

An Okeechobee County Sheriff's spokesman said that deputies were dispatched to NW 144 Drive at 3:06 PM for a report of a person falling off a communications tower.

Employees of Davis Specialties of Waycross, Ga., were on the structure installing antenna transmission lines for South Florida Water Management, the owner of the tower. The antennas operate the locks along the river.

The victim and a co-worker were installing the wires on the tower about 110 to 120 feet off the ground when the victim, identified as Michael Anthony Scott of Hazlehurst, Ga., fell to his death.

Scott was the first industry worker to die in 2011 from falling from a communications structure.

This case is also under investigation by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. OSHA will complete their own investigation on the job site and determine if safety measures were followed, authorities said.

Sott’s safety harness appeared to be intact. The exact cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner’s office.

The tower was constructed in 2009.
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Minnesota man dies while building ISP tower
August 23, 2010 - A Braham, Minn. tower technician was killed Saturday when the liftTower Climber Death truck he was on tipped over while he was installing a communications tower for an internet service provider.

The Isanti County Sheriff's Office said that Mark Robert Anderson, 40, was assisting in the erection of a tower for Genesis Wireless at 3389 Helium St. NW in Wyanett Township when the Lull Telehandler - with the boom fully extended approximately 40 feet - fell over.

Anderson  was transported to Cambridge Medical Center where he was pronounced dead of injuries he received in the fall.

Tower Tech FatalityJay Richard Mankie, 47, of Braham, and owner and founder of Genesis Wireless, was operating the unit and suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Founded in Braham, Minn. in 1999, Genesis says it has a network of over 40 towers to offer their high speed wireless internet in East Central Minnesota.

The incident is currently under investigation by the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office and OSHA. Assisting at the scene was Dalbo Fire and Rescue, Isanti County Fire and Rescue and Allina Ambulance.

A Funeral Service for Anderson will be held on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. at Stanchfield Baptist Church. A time of visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the church. Arrangements are with the Rock Ingebrand Funeral Home of Braham.
 


Two Alabama men die after guy wire is clipped
Update: August 3, 2010 - A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in east Alabama by the family of a man who died after a radio tower collapsed.
 The incident happened last Thursday in Fort McClellan.McCord Communications
  
A truck hit the tower causing it to fall while the tower technicians were at the 40-foot level.
   
The family of Barry Sloan has filed a lawsuit against the driver of the truck and the truck’s owner, Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company Incorporated.

Barnhart has over 20 branches across the U.S. and is frequently used by the industry to install and maintain communications structures.

Attorney Chris Glover said a bucket truck was parked close to the tower’s guy wires.

“The men had finished their work and everyone was clearing out,” Glover said.

“Stephens was in the process of moving the truck. He did not manage the space around the vehicle well and became entangled in the support wire.”

According to Glover, the tower then began to fall, but Stephens probably didn’t realize it until the tower was already down.

“At the very least, they should have paid more attention to their surroundings,” he said. “At the very least you sit still until the men get down. You have to be aware of your surroundings when you’re driving any vehicle.”

Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company said in a statement, “The radio tower collapse at the Fort McClellan Industrial Park is a great tragedy. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies go out to the families involved. Barnhart is cooperating fully with all authorities in investigating the accident to determine the cause.”
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Update: July 26, 2010
- Services have been announced for two Albertville, Ala. men who died Thursday when the guyed tower they were working on collapsed after a truck snapped a guy wire.

Visitation for Jonce Jerrus Hubble, 41, will be held today from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Guntersville Church of Christ with the funeral there tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Burial will be in Marshall Memory Gardens.

Services for Barry Marshall Sloan, 37, will be today at 2:00 p.m. at Pickle Funeral Home in Amory, Miss.
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July 22, 2010 - Two tower technicians died after the Anniston, Alabama guyed tower they were working on Thursday was accidentally knocked down.Fatal Tower Collapse

Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown pronounced Barry Sloan, 37, of Albertville dead at the scene at 4:16 p.m. His co-worker, Jonce Hubble, 41, of Albertville died in surgery at UAB Hospital around 9 p.m.

Both victims were employees of Anniston-based McCord Communications and were working on a tower off of Alps Drive in McClellan.

Brown said according to preliminary estimates, the two victims fell about 40 feet.

Both the police department and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.

Brown said he could not release the exact cause of the accident, but noted the incident involved a vehicle.

The two tower technicians were on the tower and there was a truck which hit a guy-wire, which caused the tower to fall, Brown said.

“There were several people around working on the scene,” Brown said. “Both men received assistance right away.”

An OSHA spokesperson said he would not identify whether the truck belonged to McCord Communications, stating that there will be no comment until the agency's final report is complete and ready to be made public.

Sloan and Hubble were the fifth and sixth tower technicians to die this year after falling from a structure. In 2009 five workers were killed.

The guyed tower, just shy of 200 feet, is not registered with the FCC. It is located about a mile east of Highway 21 in Fort McClellan on property leased to the Alabama National Guard . It is part of a system that provides communication to personnel at Pelham Range through the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.

Following the U.S. Army base's closure in 1999, the property was turned over to the City of Anniston for economic redevelopment and McClellan has become home to over 900 residents and a work place for more than 3,000 employees.

Established in 1947, McCord Communications specializes in two-way, mass notification and broadband systems design and installation. Their main office is in Anniston with service centers in Gadsen  and Albertville.


New Jersey man dies in West Philadelphia accident
June 28, 2010 - Relatives and friends are invited to attend the celebrationStanley J Zarzecki of Stanley J. Zarzecki, Sr.'s life on Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. at the Adams-Stiefel Funeral Home, 203 W. Broad St., Paulsboro, N.J.  Friends may call after 12 noon.

Zarzecki passed away Thursday evening after falling from a rooftop in West Phila.

He is survived by his wife Cara (nee Voll),  two sons Stanley J., Jr. and Zachery Xaiver; his mother Diane of Phila. and a brother Eric of Phila.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to The Stanley J. Zarzecki, Jr. Children Fund C/O TD Bank, 1450 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford, N.J. 08096.
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UPDATED: July 12, 2010 - An industry manager knowledgeable of the accident, stated that the initial police report indicating that Zarzecki tripped on gravel and fell off the roof was incorrect.

He stated that Zarzecki fell off of the Sprint/Nextel equipment platform and over the side of the short parapet wall.

In addition, although construction drawings do not show a railing around the 11-foot by 22-foot platform, there was a railing around it when he fell, he said.

UPDATED June 28, 2010 - A technician working on the roof at the Walnut Park Plaza in West Clearwire Climber FatalityPhiladelphia fell 120 feet to his death Thursday evening.

Philadelphia police say Champion Communications employee Stanley Zarzecki, 32, of Deptford, N.J. was working on transmission lines on the roof of a nine-story building at 6250 Walnut Street at about 9 p.m. when he reportedly slipped on the gravel roof.

Authorities say Zarzecki hit the edge of the roof and fell to his death.

He was pronounced dead at about 10:15 p.m.

Zarecki was reportedly working on a Clearwire project.

Clearwire, which is majority owned by Sprint/Nextel, oftentimes colocates their equipment on existing Sprint sites.

Sprint/Nextel has an 11-foot by 22-foot equipment platform on the Walnut Park Plaza rooftop approximately three feet from the parapet wall which is one-foot or less in height. It reportedly does not have any guardrails.

Other wireless tenants on the rooftop include AT&T and T-Mobile.

Authorities have not released where Zarzecki was working when he fell.

According to OSHA Standard 1926.501(b)(1) regarding unprotected sides and edges, "Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems."

After learning of the accident a number of companies held a conference call with their project managers to emphasize the need to be vigilant in their josbsite safety compliance.

Owned by Robert Kelhower, Champion Communications LLC is located in Westville, N.J.


Teen worker succumbs following fall from Arkansas self-supporting tower
Updated: June 1, 2010 - Services have been announced for Ethan Wayne Ray Hutchinson, age 18, of Ava, Mo, who passed away Friday in Ark. after he fell fromEthan Wayne Ray Hutchinson a communications tower.

"Little Britches" was born in Springfield on June 22, 1991 to Ralph Mason and Melissa Deanna (Adams) Hutchinson.

He leaves behind his parents and a brother, Nathan Everett and wife Erica (Strong); a sister Deanna Jean Porter and husband Clinton; his grandparents, Larry and Wanda Hutchinson, and Garland and Barbara Combs; a great-grandmother, Faye Maggard; nephews, aunts and uncles; cousins; and many friends.

Ethan was an active member of Eastern Gate Missionary Baptist Church. He loved life, his friends and family.  His favorite hobbies were hunting, fishing, working on automobiles and teasing others.

Funeral services will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 5, in Adams Funeral Home, Ozark, with Pastors Joe "Cub" Lafferty, James Orick, and Jon Mitchell officiating. Burial will follow in Harvill Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Friday in the funeral home.

Memorials may be made in Ethan's name to Missouri Baptist Children's Home or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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May 30, 2010 - The Baxter County Sheriff's office says an Tower Climber Death Arkansas18-year-old Missouri man has died after falling from a cell phone tower he was working on in Mountain Home, Ark.

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery says his department responded to a call at 6:05 p.m. Friday of a job site-related accident at the intersection of State Highway 5 and the US 62/412 Bypass.

Ethan Wayne Hutchinson of Douglas County, Mo., was pronounced dead at the scene.Tower Climber Death 2010

Authorities said a six-person crew from Dallas-based TECHSICO Enterprise Solutions was finishing work on the tower when Hutchinson fell about 200 feet, dying upon impact.

The 250-foot self supporting tower was built in 2001. TECHSICO was reportedly doing an upgrade on the Brunson Lane AT&T-owned tower.

The Ava resident's body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., TECHSICO specializes in furnishing low voltage systems. Although the company's website does not identify that it provides installation, retrofitting or maintenance of communications structures, it does state that it provides staff placement services.

Hutchinson was the third climber to fall to his death in 2010 from a communications tower. The last fatality was on May 4. Wreath photo courtesy: Blake Bowers
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Tech dies following fall from 400-foot guyed tower
UPDATE: May 7, 2010 - Services have been announced for tower technician Joseph L. White "Kojak", of Hawthorne, Fla. who passed away May 4. He was born in Gainesville.

He is survived by his mother, Mary F. White; daughter, Jasmine R. White; son, Jacob C. White, all of Hawthorne; brother, Stephen L. Bryan of Interlachen; aunts, Sylvia Lambert and Sandra Cassels and uncle, Pastor Russell McDaniel; one nephew and four nieces. He was preceded in death by his brother, Ronald D. White, Jr.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at Williams-Thomas Funeral Home, US 301 South at Lake Ave., Hawthorne.

Graveside Service will be held Monday, May 10, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at Antioch Cemetery in Lochloosa with Pastor Richard Cicio officiating.

May 4, 2010 - An Alachua County, Fla. man died this morning when he fell from a guyed tower in Dixie County.

The 36-year-old tower technician Tower Climber Death 2010and a co-worker, employed by North Florida Tower Service out of Lake City, were about 240 feet up the 400-foot tower when the accident occurred, the Dixie County Sheriff's Office reported.

Officers have not released the man's name pending notification of his family.

The man had been with the business for about two years and had several years of experience in this line of work, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The tower, located near County Road 357N, is owned by Tri-County Electric of Madison. The accident occurred about 9 a.m.

Employees were at the tower to perform work for the Foley Timber Co. of Perry and the State of Florida Division of Forestry, the Sheriff's Office reported.

An autopsy will be performed, and an investigation into the accident was ongoing, according to deputies. 

North Florida Tower Service has been in business for over 20 years and is owned by Don Suhl.
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Arkansas Tower Climber DeathMississippi man succumbs after 100-foot fall while dismantling
Arkansas tower

February 3, 2010 - A veteran tower climber died today after falling 100 feet from a cell tower he was working on along Arkansas 88 in Saline County, Ark., a sheriff’s office spokesman said.

Terry Thompson, 51, of Lucedale was pronounced dead at the scene, Lt. Mike Frost, with the sheriff’s department said.

He stated that the tower was owned by American Tower Corporation.

Thompson was a sub-contractor with Dynamic Wireless of Little Rock, a company hired to remove the 250-foot self supporting tower.

Frost said the sheriff’s office is investigating the death and OSHA has been contacted.

The 10:30 a.m. accident was this year's first tower climber fatality

Authorities say Thompson had 37 years of experience working on towers.

Initial reports indicate that Thomson may have been attached with only a positioning lanyard.tower climber fatality

Just prior to Thomson falling, the gin pole reportedly lurched about two-to-three feet.

OSHA will be looking to identify if it was the gate or other equipment that failed.

Thomson reportedly fell inside the tower and hit some bracing on his way down.

Dynamic Wireless, LLC, an affiliate of TransportWave, was founded in 2004. 

The tower erection and maintenance company is managed by Todd Lewellen.

Dynamic Wireless is licensed as a general contractor in several states.

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One dead following New York tower collapse 
UPDATE: December 15, 2009 - The Schuyler County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the tower erector who died when WRCE's 396-foot tower collapsed yesterday while a five-man tower crew was replacing guy wiresWRCE Tower Collapse in the town of Dix, NY.

Authorities say 46-year-old Dirk Remington of Clyde was attached to the tower while working on the guy wires at approximately 50-feet above ground level when the tower buckled and crashed to the ground. His four co-workers were not injured.

The tower crew was employed by Demand Communications Inc. of Owego.

On their web site, DCI says that all of their tower hands are certified by a leading national provider of climber training. They also state that they employ crew members that are certified in CPR and hazard communications.

DCI also conducts its own communications climbing program at a tower facility at their corporate headquarters.

The WRCE-AM tower, built in 1968, is owned by Backyard Broadcasting Elmira Licensee LLC, of Jacksonville, FL, according to FCC registration records. FCC records also indicate that at the identical latitude and longitude a 396-foot pole was constructed in 1975 and is owned by Northeastern Broadcasting, Inc. of Endicott, NY. Backyard Broadcasting is the parent company or WRCE-AM.

TIA 1019 to focus upon slippage
Schuyler County Sheriff's investigator Sergeant Matt Maloney told WirelessEstimator.com that the crew was in the process of changing out a guy wire when the accident occurred, and the tower appeared to have buckled at the point where Remington was working.

It will not be known why the accident occurred until a complete investigation is performed by OSHA.

However, guy wire slippage is a too frequent industry occurence and the concern is being addressed in the new construction standard, TIA 1019, expected to be released in Q4 of 2010.

Many times during construction, guys are pulled out and temporarily connected until they can be adequately secured in their final connection devices, sometimes with unfortunate results.

Sometimes connections that can slip must be used for efficient construction methods. In the event this is the case, guidelines are provided in the Standard for the following:

-- Methods to analyze the structure for a slippage event including impact factors to apply for either continuous slippage or instantaneous release are provided;

-- In the event a structure cannot safely handle the potential of guy slippage or other unequal structure forces guidelines on how and where to provide temporary backup guys is fully covered;

-- Annex E of the Standard, entitled "Wire Rope End Connections," will provide specific data on connections typically used in our industry that have been known slip as well as non-slip type connections. Acceptable methods of end termination of connections are covered;

-- An option to the use of temporary guy lines is given by adding in a backup system if slippage, that can be detrimental to the tower, can occur during a construction procedure.

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December 14, 2009 - A tower technician died today after the tower he was tied off on collapsed in Schuyler County, NY.

Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman said that there was a crew of five working on a guyed tower off County Route 16.New York Tower Climber Death

The sheriff's office got the call around 2:45 p.m., and at this point, details are limited.

WirelessEstimator.com will follow the tragedy of this year's 
fifth tower climber fatality.

One worker was tied off on the tower some distance up and the 396-foot-tall tower collapsed which resulted in a fatality at the scene, Yessman said.

The worker might have been in the process of changing out or performing maintenance on a guy wire at approximately the 60-foot level, authorities said.

Yessman says the first emergency unit responded within minutes, but there was nothing they could do. The Schuyler Hospital is less than a mile away from the broadcast tower site.

The tower was located about 100 yards off CR 16. The investigation is underway.  Officials are withholding the victim's name until the family is notified.

Sheriff's investigators will return to the scene tomorrow morning along with representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Montour Falls Fire Department, Schuyler County Volunteer Ambulance, Watkins Glen Fire Department and Schuyler County Emergency Management Office assisted at the scene.

The tower broadcasts the news/talk station WRCE-AM's 400-watt signal. According to FCC records, the structure is owned by Northeastern Broadcasting Inc. of Endicott, NY.

The details of the accident are not known, but the industry will be looking into whether ambitious project completion dates are to blame.

NATE cautions companies about unrealistic deadlines
Jim Coleman, Chairman of the National Association of Tower Erectors, recently said that demands are again being made to push crews to complete work, even if the pace requires a blind eye be turned to safety.

"At some point, this mode of operation will lead to tragedy. If you are involved in this industry, you know this to be true," Coleman said.

"The holiday season and the end of the year always seem to result in the imposition of unrealistic deadlines. They pose great potential for accidents for our employees. We must be diligent in enforcing safety practices and policies."

"Please take the needed steps to ensure that each of your employees understand that their safety must come first in all aspects of their job, and advise your customers that you will not endanger your crew for any reason, including being pressured to meet unrealistic deadlines," Coleman cautioned.

This year's total of five fatalities is the lowest since 2003 when WirelessEstimator.com began monitoring deaths within the industry.
 


Services set for technician who fell in Missouri
UPDATE: September 15, 2009
- Family and friends' visitation hours for Justin Lee Stamps will be from 9:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, September 17 and 18 at the Hersman-Nichols Funeral Home, 111 N.E. 2nd St., Wagoner, Okla.

Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 19 in the Assembly of God Church with the Reverend Terry Presley and Steve Lay officiating. Interment will follow in Pioneer Cemetery. For further information call the funeral home at 918-485-2213.
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September 14, 2009 - An Okla. tower technician died this morning when he reportedly fell from the top of a 325-foot guyed tower in Oregon County, Mo. as he was transitioning without being tied off.
Tower Climber Death Mo.

Oregon County Deputy Coroner Robert Clary said that Justin Stamps, 26, of Wagoner fell from the structure and died immediately from blunt force trauma.

Stamps was employed by S&S Communication Specialists Inc. The Hurlbert, Okla. tower erector recently completed installation of the U.S. Cellular structure located about two miles west of the junction of US Hwy. 160 and Hwy. 99 at Thomasville.

The Rover Volunteer Fire Department provided an immediate response to the tower site, and was preparing for a helicopter lift (
audio), but Clary pronounced Stamps dead at the scene at 9:06 a.m.

Reports indicate that the experienced rigger was not attached to a safe anchorage point when he fell. OSHA is investigating.

S&S Communications is owned by brothers Kenneth and Randall Shankle who have 55 years of experience between them. The company is one of U.S. Cellular's primary contractors.

Kenneth Shankle said that Stamps had been with his company for less than a year, but had experience with a number of companies prior to his employment. He said that until such time that OSHA has completed their investigation he would not want to speculate as to how the accident occurred.

Stamps is the 
fourth fatality this year of a tower technician falling from an elevated structure.

Stamps was “moving up” on the tower when he fell more than 300 feet to his death, his mother, Tina Stamps.

“They were finished where they were working and getting ready to move up the tower,” Stamps said she was told by an S&S Communications Specialist official. “He went to hook up, and he missed.”

Besides his job, Stamps loved bull riding and anything western, but most of all he loved people, his friends and family said.

That love of people was evidenced today as dozens of cars and pickups lined the long driveway to the home of his parents, Randy and Tina Stamps. Another dozen cars that couldn’t get into the driveway lined the county road in front of the house, according to the Muscogee Phoenix.

Funeral services for Stamps are being planned with Hersman-Nichols Funeral Home of Wagoner.

Justin is survived by his parents, Randy and Tina Stamps of  Wagoner and Alan Cook of Porter; his sisters, Amber Stamps of Wagoner and Christy Warren and husband Robert of Muskogee; his brothers, Ronnie Stamps and wife Jessica and Chouteau and Teddy Cook of Porter; grandparents, Grady and Jane Lawhorn of Wagoner and Tommy Stamps of Pryor.


Tower tech succumbs in Texas following fall
UPDATE July 20, 2009 -Visitation services for Lucas Tucker will be held Tuesday, July 21, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Baumgardner Funeral Home, 212 N. Tarrant St., Crowley, TX.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22 at the Crowley Cemetery located on the 100 block of N. Hampton St., Crowley.
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July 18, 2009 - A tower technician working in De Kalb, TX was killed this afternoon after falling from a communications tower owned by AT&T Mobility at 640 Route 82.Tower Worker Death In Texas

Lucas Tucker, 28, of Crowley, had been running transmission lines in snap-in hangers at approximately the100-foot level on the 337-foot guyed tower when he fell, reportedly hitting the structure's ice bridge.

A fellow worker on the three-man crew was approximately 20 feet below Tucker, but reportedly did not hear him raise his voice in distress as he brushed him on the way down.Tower Technician Death Texas

The accident happened at approximately 2:30 p.m. and De Kalb's emergency medical personnel were at the tower site within minutes. Tucker was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was employed by Lariat Communications, a subcontractor that was hired to install a Metro PCS co-location. The Burleson, TX company is owned by Ralph Hines.

Tucker, who had more than ten years of experience in climbing, is survived by his parents as well as two brothers who also work in the industry.

Tucker was the 
third worker killed this year after falling from a communications structure while performing professional services for a client.

Services are expected to be announced on Monday. OSHA is investigating the fatality.

De Kalb is a small Texas community of less than 1,800 people located 35 miles west of Texarkana.

Arkansas climber dies after falling from Mississippi self-supporter after reported equipment failure
Update: June 8, 2009 - According to Shane Duschen's wife, Shanon, her husband was not careless on the tower when he fell on June 3, but his safety equipment failed,Tower Climber Death causing his death.

"Let this be a lesson to all of you in this profession. Do not take for granted that you are 100% safe as there is never a guarantee. Please do routine inspections of your belts and harnesses," the distraught mother of three young girls said.

A number of people knowledgeable about the incident said that Duschen's lanyard is still attached to the tower this morning and he had his relatively new harness on when he was pronounced dead at the base of the 250-foot self supporting tower.

Officials have prohibited anyone from climbing the tower to retrieve it until a representative of OSHA is on site later today to receive the equipment to further assess what could have caused the accident.

The coroner's report identified that Duschen and co-worker Richard Rippee just finished lunch before he fell, but according to others close to the accident, the two tower technicians were up near the 217-foot level mounting frame preparing to receive transmission lines.

Tower Climber Death ------------------------------
Update: June 6, 2009
- Visitation for family and friends of Shane Duschen will be on Sunday, June 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Mid Town Baptist Church, 4037 Boone Rd., Benton, AR. Services will start at 2:00 p.m.

A memorial fund has been set up for his family and contributions can be made to:

Shane Duschen Memorial Fund, c/o Simmons First National Bank, Account #10836514, L/R Geyer Springs Branch, 8500 Geyer Springs Rd., Little Rock, AR 72209. For additional information, contact the bank at 501-570-0800.
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June 4, 2009 - Shane Duschen, 28, of Alexander, AR, died yesterday afternoon after he fell 215 feet from a 250' self-supporting tower he was working on in Leland, MS.

He leaves his wife, Shanon, and their three daughters, age 7, 5 and 2.

Duschen was working with a four-man crew on a Crown Castle International tower off of Highway 61.

His employer, Diamond K Tower Co., Inc. of Greenville, was working directly for T-Leland MS T-Mobile Death Mobile to install additional transmission lines.

Duschen, who began his employment with Diamond K Tower in 2002, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 911 call was made by coworker Richard Rippee immediately after Duschen fell, according to Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson. The estimated time of Duschen's death was about 3:00 p.m.

Rippee said that he and Duschen had just finished eating lunch and were talking when Dushen simply fell from the tower, according to the coroner's report.

Johnson said Duschen was wearing a harness when he fell.

OSHA is on site investigating the fatality.

In addition to T-Mobile, the tower is co-located by Sprint PCS and AT&T Mobility.

Duschen's death is the second fatality this year of a communications technician falling from an elevated structure. A tower technician wearing a harness fell off a monopole on March 17 and died in Lake Worth, FL. 

Owned by Mike Kuhn, who has 31 years of experience in the tower business, Diamond K Tower has specialized in cellular tower construction for the past 16 years.


Trust fund set up for Florida tower worker's family
March 20, 2009 - A visitation for family and friends will be held for Clinton "Clint" Waters on Sunday, March 22 from 2:00 through 4:00 p.m. at the Marion Nelson Funeral Home in Lake Wales,Clinton Waters Fl.

Waters suddenly fell to his death on Tuesday in Lake Worth after working aloft on a monopalm for almost three hours.

His co-workers at Andrew Systems, Inc. have set up a trust fund with all of the proceeds going directly to his family. Contributions can be made at any Bank of America by donating to the Clinton Waters Memorial Family Fund.

He was born September 14, 1972 in Lake Wales and was a lifelong resident of the area. He was a tower technician for staffing firm Sky Hawk Wireless. Clint was of the Pentecostal faith and a served the in the U.S. Air Force.

He graduated from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando and loved to work on and ride ATVs. He enjoyed working on projects at home and spending time with his family.

Waters was preceded in death by his son, Chanden Harold Waters. Survivors include his wife of 11 years, Holly Ann; daughter, Bailey and son, Dustin; father, Harry Gilbert Waters of Lake Wales; mother, Jonnie Phillips of Bartow; brothers, Sam Waters of Lake Wales; father and mother-in-law, Roger and Sheila McCoy of Ms.

The funeral service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, March 23 at the High Point Church in Lake Wales with Rev. Jack Hilligoss officiating. Interment will follow at the Lake Wales Cemetery.


Florida cell tech fatality is country's first in 2009

March 17, 2009 - Updated March 19, 2009  - A tower technician wearing a harness fell off a monopole and died about noon today on Heritage Farms Road and U.S. 441, in Lake Worth, Fl.,  authorities said.Tower Climber Death

The man who died, 36-year-old Clinton Waters of Lake Wales, worked for Skyhawk Wireless Staffing, a specialized temp agency hired by Andrew Construction Services to work on the monopalm.

It is unclear how the accident occurred because the worker was wearing safety gear, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said, but they could not identify if the worker was tied off to the structure at the time that he fell or if it was an equipment failure.

The height of the tower was 120 feet, according to Captain Don Delucia with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

The man and his co-worker were both on the new structure being built for T-Mobile. They were part of a five-member crew.

Representatives of Andrew Construction Services and OSHA are expected to be on site tomorrow to identify what might have caused Waters' death.

Bulletin board posts and a news blog said the incident might have occurred when Waters was transitioning from a man basket to the monopalm. 

However, according to a number of people knowledgeable about the accident, Waters had been working on the monopalm for almost three hours prior to his sudden fall.

Although there was a man basket on the job, in a picture taken immediately after the accident, the basket is sitting on the bed of the crane, detached from any rigging.Tower Climber Fatality

Other news pictures show what appears to be two safety lines on the structure. It also appears that the fronds were stored at the tower site and were not being installed at the time of the worker's fall.

He was the first industry fatality in 2009.

Waters began his career in Florida in 1996 with Atlantic Tower Construction, Inc., managed by Brian and Ann Silk. The Silks later founded United Telecom of Central Florida, Inc. and Waters worked there a number of times. He moved on to other companies during the past 12 years, including Andrew Systems Inc., and his most recent position was as a subcontracted technician with the Skyhawk staffing firm.

"Clint was a very hard worker and was always trying to better himself. He was quick witted and was sure to make you laugh with his humor," said Brian Silk who was taken back by the tragic news.

Many people described waters as a good family man who befriended countless tower workers.

"I think that all of us who have known him can say it has been a great loss for a close circle of friends that through the years have had to part our own ways. I'm sorry for his wife and children who have to deal with his loss," said former co-worker and friend Scott Bartle.

Waters was married and had a son and daughter.

Last May, a tower maintenance worker died when he fell from a TV tower in Miami. The broadcast tower is adjacent to where WirelessEstimator.com is currently following the construction of a 1,000-foot tall digital tower.

Following Texas, Florida appears to have more tower companies and crews than any other state in the country


Tucson technician dies following 65-foot fall
November 18, 2008 - Updated November 19, 2008 - A 22-year-old tower technician working approximately 65 feet up on a tower fell to the ground today while adding equipment to the tower, said Todd Cupell, spokesman for the Corona de Tucson Fire Department in Arizona.Tower Fatality

Cupell said the man was unconscious and unresponsive, but alive and in critical condition when he was taken by helicopter to a local hospital.

However, a spokesperson for the Pima County Sheriff's Department said that Edward Wallen had died from his injuries.

Cupell said that original reports that the worker was a woman were incorrect. 

The tower is located at 16336 S. Houghton Road, about a half mile south of Houghton and Sahuarita roads. The emergency call came in at 12:31 p.m., according to authorities.

The tech was working with another employee of Wallen Communications, based out of Tucson and Phoenix. Established in 2001, the company specializes in cell site construction and broadcast microwave installation.

"I don't know for sure whether it was operator error or if it was the equipment he was using," Cupell said.

Cupell said the structure is a self supporting tower that had been built and remained vacant for a couple of years, but had recently seen tenant activity. He was unaware of the tower's current owner.

The FCC's database does not identify a registered structure at 16336 S. Houghton Road, but shows an 82-foot structure for Alltel Communications at 16355 S. Houghton Road.


Police seeking to identify if deceased worker fell from tower prior to falling through skylight
October 24, 2008 - Update 10/25/08 - Ellensburg, Washington police say that they are investigating the death of a  24-year-old man who died yesterday afternoon after tower worker fatalitya 35-foot fall through a skylight from a tower atop the roof of Kelleher Motor Company.

 "A worker on the roof fell through the skylight onto the concrete floor in the shop," said Dave Radcliff, captain paramedic with Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue.

According to a police official, Gary D. Sivey, a Central Washington University student was an employee of Cascade 1 Inc., a wireless internet provider.

Radcliff said the man may have either walked onto the skylight and fell or fell from even higher up from a tower on the roof.

The worker was taken to Kittitas Valley Community Hospital, suffering from "massive multi-system trauma." He was suffering from a cardiac arrest when emergency personnel arrived.

On September 12, a Washington tower technician fell to his death from an elevator shaft in Port Angeles while performing a night cut.


AT&T night cut proves to be deadly for 33-year-old Washington tower technician
September 16, 2008 - Updated September 19, 2008 -  A Bonney Lake tower technician fell to his death from an elevator shaft in Port Angeles, Washington while performing a night cut.Tower climber fatality

Authorities say 33-year old Jeremy Combs died just after midnight last Friday when he fell from the exterior of the elevator shaft on top of the Elks building in downtown Port Angeles.

Port Angeles police received the emergency call at 12:01 a.m., and Combs was still alive when paramedics and police officers arrived.

He was pronounced dead at Olympic Medical Center at 1:43 a.m.

Combs was about 32 feet up the shaft when he fell to the building's rooftop. According to Port Angeles police, Combs was part of a crew of Emerald Wireless Communications, Inc. sub-contracting for AT&T.

According to Rick White, Labor and Industries compliance officer, Combs was not wearing safety equipment when he fell.

White said the antenna mounts were about 4.5 feet high, and stood atop the building's elevator shaft.

Combs lost his balance and fell backward onto a lower roof on the fourth floor, White said.

The Buckley antenna and line company was established in 2000.

Combs was the tenth communications worker killed this year from falling from an elevated structure. Four of them were on AT&T projects.

Funeral services for the well-respected tower foreman will be held at Yahn and Son Funeral Home, 55 West Valley Highway, Auburn, on Wednesday, September 17 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Jeremy is survived by his wife, and their two children, Robert Allen Scott and Ashley Joy. He is also survived by his Grandfather Robert White, Mother Susan Combs, Sisters, Cindy Bates (Joey), Kristen Kirkland (Jay), and Michelle Manuel (Steve), and many nieces, nephews, extended family and dear friends.

Prior to his employment with Emerald Wireless, he worked for Brookstone Construction, Wren Construction and Steelhead Construction.
See: Four hundred pay tribute to Combs


Painter succumbs at base of broadcast tower site

July 21, 2008 - A tower painter was discovered by a broadcast engineer at the Tower Painter Fatalitybase of WDAZ's 1,400-foot tower in Petersburg, ND yesterday.

The Nelson County Sheriff's Department responded to a call at about 6:00 P.M. from the station's engineer, Nate Millard, who discovered the body of 38-year-old Darrel Hovde of Mandan.

Authorities said Hovde worked for All State Tower Company of Bismarck.

Hoyde was working alone painting the tower, Millard said, at about the 100-foot level. When Millard looked out a second story window he said he discovered the tower painter laying on his side in a semi-fetal position.

It appeared to Millard that Hoyde had fallen from the TV tower. "You could see where a trail of paint ended about 50 feet up," Millard said.

Millard said Hoyde still had his safety equipment on. Hovde's body has been sent to Bismarck for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. If the coroner identifies that Hoyde died from blunt trauma, he will be the ninth communications worker that was killed this year from falling from a communications tower.


New Jersey tech is the nation's eighth fatality
July 19, 2008 - Vineland New Jersey Police Chief Timothy Codispoti has confirmed that the nation lost another tower technician this year when a Franklinville man died yesterday after falling approximately 60 feet from a cell phone tower yesterday.
Tower Fatalities
Gerard M. Leclercq, employed by Paramount Advanced Wireless LLC of Pennsauken, was working with two other crew members when he fell. The 55-year-old tower technician had been working on a Crown Castle International tower off of Panther Rd.

Leclercq, who reportedly had family working for him in the industry, fell at approximately 10:50 a.m. while his two coworkers were on the ground, according to Vineland Detective Sergeant Len Wolf.

Investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the scene and investigating the incident until late Friday evening.

Paramount Advanced Wireless LLC is a well-known, long-established company that has its roots in the communications industry since the early build-out days of cellular communications. The firm has taken an active role in tower safety and is a participant in an industry OSHA safety alliance.

Leclercq's death was the eighth fatality in 2008 of a worker falling from a communications structure

Tower tech falls to his death in South Florida
May 22, 2008 - A worker employed by Structural Systems Technology, Inc. of McLean, Virginia fell to his death at 12:04 p.m. today north of Miami, Florida, according to a spokesman for Miami Dade Fire Rescue.South Florida Tower Fatality

Darren Joe Reed had been performing maintenance work on the Channel 7 WSVN tower at 502 NW 207th St.

The area is called the antenna farm, where many broadcast companies maintain towers. The structures are landmark locations and can be seen while flying into Miami or Ft. Lauderdale airports, and are visible from I-95 and the Florida Turnpike.

The death was the seventh fatality this year of a worker falling from a communications structure.

A spokeswoman for the Fox affiliate said that the station did not have any additional information at this time.

Structural Systems Technology has been designing and constructing towers and related facilities worldwide for over 30 years.

On June 2, 1988, three SST workers were killed when the 2,000-foot Kirksville, MO television tower they were reinforcing collapsed. The KTVO-TV tower, owned at that time by Federal Broadcasting, was undergoing a structural upgrade and fell during calm weather as braces were being replaced.

An SST worker was injured on January 11, 2008, when a 2,000-foot TV tower collapsed in Redfield, Arkansas while a crew was reguying the structure.


Indiana death marks nation's sixth fatality
May 17, 2008 - A tower technician fell to his death Friday off of Warrenton Road in Haubstadt, Indiana, according to the Gibson County Coroner's office. The worker was on an AT&T UMTS project managed by General Dynamics. SomeSixth Tower Fatality crews in the market were shut down until further notice.

The 25-year-old Alabama man, Jonathon Guilford, was the nation's sixth fatality of a tower worker falling from a structure.

The Indiana Department of Labor has been contacted and is investigating the accident.

Preliminary reports indicate that although he wore the required safety equipment he was not secured to the tower.

The climber was employed by All Around Tower. 

General Dynamics has scheduled a mandatory safety evaluation meeting this afternoon with approximately 15 crews that are working in the Evansville market. OSHA officials are expected to attend the meeting, but it is anticipated that the fatality will not be discussed until such time as they complete their investigation.Indian Tower Fatality

A number of industry workers familiar with the fatality said that OSHA will be investigating reports that the technician had been rapelling down a load line attached to a block on a 200-foot monopole when he suddenly stopped at approximately 140 feet.

Co-workers said that the abrupt stop might have caused the rope to bounce back up like a bungee cord, allowing the block to disengage itself from the carabiner that secured it to the monopole.

Although the technician suffered extensive trauma, he remained alive for a period of time, although in shock, questioning his condition as his crew members attempted to summon emergency help,  said a technician knowledgeable about the fatality.

A crew member was required to seek medical attention when he complained of chest pains following the accident, according to numerous reports.

The industry had suffered no fatalities from early December of 2007 through April 12, 2008, but within 12 days five tower technicians fell to their death.

At least half of this year's fatalities happened while the tower worker was on an AT&T project.


Fifth fatality has industry troubled about sudden rash of climber deaths throughout the nationTower Climber Fatality

April 23, 2008 - (Updated April 28, 2008) While family, friends and coworkers were paying their respects today during funeral services in Virginia Beach, VA, to a 46-year-old Chesapeake man who died after falling from a communications tower on April 17, another tower worker fell to his death in Natchez, MS.

Mark F. Haynes, of Griffin, GA, died after falling approximately 100-feet, according to Adams County Coroner James Lee. He said Haynes' death was caused by extensive head and chest injuries. 

Haynes was employed by Overland Contracting Inc., a Black & Veatch Company, and was reportedly hanging boom gates on a Cell South tower when the accident occurred.

Haynes' death is the fifth fatality within 12 days, which has the construction industry duly concerned about the sudden rash of incidents following a fatality free period since December 5, 2007. Some management companies are calling for stand downs to address their safety concerns.

Chesapeake worker is North Carolina's second fatality
A representative of the North Carolina Department of Labor said that William Edward Bernard, Jr., of Chesapeake, VA, fell while working on a tower in Frisco, NC last Thursday, and that additional details would not be provided until their investigation is complete.

Bernard was employed by Brook Hill Communications, Inc. of Mechanicsville, VA. Memorial donations may be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.
Second April 14 fatality

On April 14, another tower technician fell to his death in Moorcroft, WY, according to a Moorcroft Police Department administrator and Crook County Sheriff Steve J. Stahla.

The worker was employed by Cornerstone Tower of Grand Island, NE.

Officials of the Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety organization were at a state-wide conference this week in Casper and were unavailable for comment.

On April 12, a worker fell to his death while transitioning on a monopole in Wake Forest, NC. Two days later a tower technician fell 225-feet off of a guyed tower and died.

Concerned about the losses within the industry, the National Association of Tower Erectors sent a newsletter to their members yesterday emphasizing the need for companies to remind their climbers of the importance of following the training they have received, specifically that 100% tie-off is mandatory.

"Above all else, take this opportunity to let them know that their decisions are essential; their lives depend on the choices that they make," said NATE Executive Director Patrick Howey.

Two of the fatalities occurred while the climbers were performing work on AT&T related installations. A previous report that one was on a Bechtel Corporation project was incorrect.

Bechtel Corporation's northeast regional and market construction managers are holding mandatory safety stand down meetings this week for its construction employees and their subcontractors and their subtier subcontractors.

Their safety topic will be refreshing the back to basics with a strong focus on working at heights. Attention is being focused on this subject because of the fatalities which have recently occurred. They said that AT&T has required its contractors and suppliers to immediately hold the stand down meetings. 
 
They informed their subcontractors that they might be contracted to work for other AT&T contractors, who will also be convening safety stand down meetings. They told their contractors that they would prefer that they attend Bechtel's stand down meetings.

AT&T re-emphasizes zero accident expectation
In an effort to re-emphasize the importance of good safety practices and AT&T's zero accident expectation, AT&T said that they were instituting a construction stand down to give each of their construction suppliers an opportunity to reinforce appropriate safety practices with each of its employees and subcontractors. 

Their notice to contractors read, "AT&T therefore requires you to hold, at a minimum, a half-day safety refresher training course this week with all of your construction employees and subcontractors providing services for AT&T.  Upon completion of the safety refresher training this week, AT&T expects that you will reinforce this training with additional random safety checks at the construction sites to ensure that appropriate safety measures are being used."


Second tower climber's death in past three days Texas Tower Tech Death mars four fatality-free months

April 15, 2008 - (Updated April 17, 2008) James Friesenhaun, 38, was killed yesterday when he fell 225 feet from a guyed tower located near Northwest Military near Camp Bullis, in San Antonio, TX, according to Sergeant Ted Prosser of the San Antonio Police Department.

Friesenhaun was employed by Ransor Incorporated of Schertz, TX, according to a San Diego OSHA representative. 

Ransor Incorporated, a company that has been building wireless telecommunications tower sites for over 26 years, had been hired by CPS Energy to provide reinforcements on its guyed tower.

The worker reportedly was loosening bolts on the steel that he was attached to when he fell. Two other technicians working on the tower said that they saw their co-worker "sort of lean back a little bit, and apparently, after the last bolt that he loosened, he just fell down 225 feet," according to Sergeant Prosser.

CPS Energy, a utility owned by the city of San Antonio, would not provide any details regarding the accident.

The tower erection industry had been cautiously enjoying a fatality-free period for over four months, but was saddened by the nation's first death last Saturday in Wake Forest, NC.

 Oklahoman succumbs after 150-foot fall
April 13, 2008 - A Midwest City, Oklahoma man died yesterday afternoon after falling 150 feet from a monopole located in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
 Tower Climber Fatality

Authorities say that Charles Wade Lupton, 34, was working on the cell site structure with a co-worker from MJM Group LLC from Franklin, Tennessee when he suddenly fell.

OSHA is investigating the incident, the 
nation's first death  in 2008 of a communications worker falling from an elevated structure.

The monopole is owned by Crown Castle International.

Lupton, an experienced tower technician, was taken from the tower site at 11156 Capital Blvd. to the North Carolina Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.
 
 
 
 
   
     
Anritsu