After a 32-year-old tower technician passed away on December 15, 2022, in Weatherford, TX, while engaged in an installation project for Verizon, the limited information provided by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office and the technician’s employer, Neticom of Arlington, TX, appeared to indicate that the Fort Worth technician was killed after a hybrid cable came loose while it was being picked to a RAD center at approximately 190 feet on a 200′ guyed tower, striking Juzzel Edward “Juzz” Concepcion. The traumatic injuries were so severe that he expired shortly after his crew brought him down from the American Tower Corp. guyed tower.
However, according to new documents obtained by Wireless Estimator and conversations with Neticom’s management, it appears that the cable was picked safely by a crane using a proper hoisting sling, as seen in the above photograph, and was securely attached to the tower with a hoisting grip that came with the Huber+Suhner fiber optic cable that the manufacturer installed.
At some point, according to Neticom, while Concepcion was on the tower performing additional prep work for the installation, the secured hoisting grip sheared in half, causing the cable to fall and wrap around Concepcion, severely injuring him.
Neticom said that at no time was the HCS cable being hoisted or was it unsecured above Concepcion at the time of the accident. They also emphasized that the manufacturer-installed hoisting grip was never used to lift the fiber optic cable.
According to a Verizon-approved Huber+Suhner cable assembly document viewed by Wireless Estimator, installers should “pull the cable up the tower or structure using a safe and reliable method. One hoisting grip is pre-installed in the assembly. This hoisting grip can hold a cable length of 197 ft.”
Huber+Suhner does not identify the hoisting grip’s breaking strength, but it is presumed that it is 1,500 pounds since they specify that strength for additional grips that should be added for other 197-foot intervals.
The Masterline Classic Hybrid 12/24 cable being installed weighs 3.02 pounds per foot.
It is unknown if Huber+Suhner manufactures the hosting grip, a misnamed product, since most companies will not allow their crews to use the hoists to lift cable.
OSHA and American Tower have conducted numerous on-site interviews and will continue their investigation.
Testing the hoisting grip will be critical to fully understanding why it failed. However, it is unknown whether Huber+Suhner and Neticom will provide representatives to ensure the integrity of the testing or be allowed to conduct an independent analysis.
Multiple safety professionals who contacted Wireless Estimator believe OSHA and other parties must have an immediate investigation of the grip to ensure the safety of workers on a tower.
Although there have been numerous instances where hybrid cables have fallen during installation or were severely damaged, there are no reports of injuries or fatalities. “The cause has primarily been due to incorrectly using the hoisting grip instead of proper rigging,” explained a safety manager with over 20 years of experience who contacted Wireless Estimator.
Concepcion was the third industry fatality this year. In 2021 there were four deaths, half the fatalities of 2020 and 2019, which saw eight fatalities each year.
Juzzel Edward “Juzz” Concepcion’s funeral service is at 1:00 p.m. today
A funeral service is set for 1:00 p.m., Thursday, December 22, 2022, at All Nations Alliance Church, 632 Hallvale Dr., Fort Worth, TX.
Born in the Philippines to parents Lysa Concepcion and Edgardo Drez Concepcion. Juzz was the oldest of five siblings. He graduated from Misamis University with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation, where he then worked as a seafarer for almost ten years.
Living in Fort Worth with family, his time in the U.S. was short, but he touched the hearts of many. Neticom had employed him for approximately three months.
Juzzel was preceded in death by his father, Edgardo Drez Concepcion.
He will be greatly missed by his family, Giselle Mabalot (Wife); Scarlet Concepcion and Skye Concepcion (Daughters); Janikka Concepcion, Jell Concepcion, Lyka Concepcion, John Concepcion (Siblings); Lysa Concepcion (Mother); Marilil Cagas (Mother-in-law); and Greg Mabalot (Brother-in-law); as well as his Neticom team members.