Archive for September, 2011
Put another climbing rig in the empty chair.
August was a deadly month for tower climbers. It’s a risky business. One with low wages for the danger that they participate in.
August 9, 2011 – Services were held this morning for an 18-year-old tower technician who fell to his death last Teen tower tech is killed in North Carolina Wednesday in Hollister, N.C.
Keith Joshua Caleb Stull of Pinnacle, N.C. had been working on a United States Cellular Corporation self supporting tower at 40989 Highway 561 when he suddenly fell from approximately the 50 foot level of the 300-foot structure built in 2008.
He was transported to Nash General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Stull was employed by Sink Tower Erection Co., Inc. of Lexington, N.C., a company formed in 1995 by its president, James H. Sink.
Stull was the fourth tower technician to die this year from falling from a structure. View nine year history here.
North Carolina was the first state OSH to develop a communications tower standard and a fall protection standard in 2005.
The NCDOL approved a non-ionizing radiation standard the follow year.
The last fatality in the state of a tower tech falling from a structure was on April 18, 2008 in Frisco.
Born on August 8, 1992 in Snowflake, Ariz. to Charles Kenneth Stull of Pinnacle and Jhonda Anderson of Kentucky, Keith Stull was an avid wrestler in high school.
In addition to his parents he is survived by two sisters; Rhinna Stull of Idaho, and Victoria Stull of Pinnacle; one brother; Charles Michael Stull and girlfriend Amber Brickell of Pinnacle; two uncles Keith Stull and wife Kimberly, and Michael Stull all of Winston-Salem; Grandmother Ellen Graham of Winston Salem; two nieces Sarah and Elizabeth Stull.
A 21-year-old Topeka, Kan., man fell to his death August 14, while working on a tower in Missouri. A tower worker from Pinnacle, N.C., fell from a U.S. Cellular tower in Hollister, N.C., Aug. 3, five days short of his 19th birthday.
Jacob Von Kopfman became the fifth tower fatality in 2011.
Kopfman was employed by Hayden Tower Service. Previously, he worked for Blue Dot in Topeka, Schlafly Bottleworks and Northrop Grumman. He graduated from the Missouri Welding Institute in Nevada, Mo. Stull was employed by Sink Tower Erection of Lexington, N.C.
In another incident, a 25-year-old man who passed out on a tower August 3, in Texas had to be rescued by firefighters. He survived the ordeal and was listed in stable condition in a local hospital, according to a Fort Worth newspaper.
It could be worse. We could have had even more fatalities had the rescue not went smoothly on a tower that was recently energized while a crew was working on it.
The industry used to pay well. When I first became a climber back in 2003 the wage was a lot higher than it is now. Now crews are lucky to make $15 per hour in some cases. Forget benefits.
Fools who lock themselves on a tower, or free climb don’t realize the danger they are in and the knowledgeable ones who do so give a bad reputation to the rest of us.
I’m not a climber anymore, hell I’m not even in the industry now, but I can’t stand hearing about these types of incidents still.