Harrison Co. cell tower death latest in alarming trend

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The death of a maintenance worker atop a cell phone tower in Harrison County demonstrates the dangers involved in maintaining the nation's wireless network.

"Tower worker deaths cannot be the price we pay for increased wireless communication," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, in February. "Employers and cell tower owners and operators must do everything possible to stop these senseless, preventable tragedies."

In 2013, thirteen fatalities occurred in this industry, more than in the previous two years combined according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Because of concerns of four worker deaths in the first five weeks of 2014, OSHA sent a letter earlier this year to communication tower employers urging compliance and strict adherence to safety standards and common sense practices.

Of the 13 communication tower-related fatalities in 2013, OSHA reports the majority were a result of falls.

According to its website, OSHA requires employers to provide adequate fall protection equipment, train employees how to use the safety equipment and ensure that they use it properly and consistently.

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