Posts Tagged 'Fall'

A while back I mentioned I took part as a resource in a journalistic investigation regarding the cellular industry.

I have high hopes for its success in turning what was and is easily one of the most black market industries out there.

A lot of folks got pretty irate when they delayed the release.

It’s public television people, not prime time. Slots get moved, more information becomes available things get edited. Not to mention the nice lady from Pro Publica contacted me again, so I’m guessing they are doing some more background work for an additional. Whose to say. I might even use my real name. But I digress…

At any rate if you have a moment, or are just curious as to what it is I used to do, or are interested in seeing just how dangerous my and other cellular contractors jobs were, then look no further:

Watch Cell Tower Deaths Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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Nick Rouskey, president, Broadcast Services Tower and Antennas, died tragically Dec. 26 when he was electrocuted while working on a cell tower in Bonita Springs, Fla. Rouskey was alone on the tower, Bonita Springs fire deputy chief Frank Giuliano said.

Rouskey, who had 20 years of experience repairing towers, was on the tower to replace a light, and was being assisted by his grandson, who was at the base.

Rescuers were dispatched to the scene at 4:40 p.m. and found him unresponsive 750 feet above the ground, according to Naples Daily News. A team of eight workers “untangled” Rouskey and lowered him to the ground. The rescue took five hours to complete.
A station engineer thought that he was changing out a beacon bulb at the time of the accident.

The guyed tower is set back behind Channel 30 Drive, along Old U.S. 41 in Bonita Springs.

The victim’s body reached ground at about 9:30 p.m., Giuliano said. Collier County rescuers were dispatched to the scene at about 4:40 p.m., joined by Bonita Springs fire responders, both county sheriff’s offices and other agencies.

A group of eight rescuers, including an Urban Search and Rescue team, worked to untangle the man and bring him down.

Officials cut power on the tower during the rescue mission for safety, having the FAA divert aircraft from the area.

They reached the technician about 7:30 p.m. Rescuers then discovered the man was dead.

“At that point it became a body recovery, as opposed to a rescue,” Giuliano said. “We slowed down and took our time.”

As they were preparing to climb the structure a sheriffs’ helicopter circled the tower and reported to rescuers that the man had been unresponsive for almost three hours.

medical examiners told family members that, according to an autopsy, Rouskey was electrocuted.

However, officials at District 21 Medical Examiner Rebecca Hamilton’s Office said they have not released findings and won’t issue a cause of death until results of lab tests are received.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation of the accidental death will not be completed until detectives receive reports from the medical examiner.

OSHA is also investigating the accident.

The 733-foot tower is owned by Super Towers Inc. of Manchester, Mass.

Rouskey, 61, lived in Cape Coral, Fla., where he and his wife, Kathleen, owned and operated Broadcast Services Tower and Antenna. He was a veteran of the Vietnam war and received a Bronze Star for his military service. He is survived by his wife, one son, Nick Rouskey; and two grandsons, Dylan and Ian; and other family members.

We grieve when these kind of events happen in our industry. The members of his family have our thoughts, prayers and condolences.

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Matthew D. Goodner, 30, of Ford Dodge, Iowa died on Wednesday October 12 in Newton, Mass, the sixth fatality of 2011 in tower related deaths.
Goodner was a contractor who was installing a safety ladder and performing routine maintenance for the tower owner, Boston-based American Tower Corp.  During the installation Goodner was working at approximately the 1,000 foot mark on the 1,253 foot guy-wire tower.

Goodner was a member of a veteran crew of three men, working for Ultimate Tower, a Texas-based company.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our contractors. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and co-workers during this difficult time. We are working closely with the relevant authorities and cooperating fully with all inquiries into the cause of this tragic accident,” said Matt Peterson, vice president of communications for ATC in a statement.

Peterson said the company suspended all work at the site pending a thorough review of the incident.

Although authorities have said the Goodner was at approximately 1,000 feet, Peterson said he had no information regarding the actual height.

Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said there were other tower technicians on the tower at the time of the incident, but none of them was injured.

The tower, used by both radio and television stations, is located on Chesnut Street in Newton, near Interstate 95.

American Tower issued a statement saying “We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our contractors. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and co-workers during this difficult time.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities and co-operating fully with all inquiries into the cause of this tragic accident. We have suspended all work at this site pending a thorough review of this incident.”

Our thoughts go out to Mr Goodners family and friends as well as the crews of Ultimate tower at this time.

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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.

Via Wireless Estimator

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.

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Two Texas tower technicians died yesterday, after falling approximately 340 feet off of a new guyed tower they were erecting for WXXB-Texas-Tower-Tech-Fatlities102.9 FM in Indiana.

The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department identified the two riggers as Ernesto Garcia, 29, of Laredo, and Paul Aliss, 32, of Mesquite.

They were working at the site with an additional three crew members for Chandler, Ind.-based ERI Inc.

The accident was reported just before 9 a.m. by their coworkers and emergency crews and police responded to the scene, which is near the intersection of County Roads 600 North and 900 East by Colburn. Crews spent much of the morning investigating at the site and the bodies of the two victims were not removed until close to 11 a.m.

Emergency crews spent much of the morning investigating at the site and the bodies of the two victims were not removed until close to 11 a.m.

Authorities said they fell while they were in the process adding a section or other accessory on the 500-foot tower; however, until IOSHA investigates the exact details will not be known.

“Two members of a three-man crew on the tower had apparently been working at 340 feet when the fell, along with a piece of equipment being used to add another segment to the tower,” said the Tippecanoe County sheriff’s office.

ERI is replacing an existing 498-foot tower constructed in 2001that is located about 1,500 feet from the new structure.

The workers were removing the near-500-foot tower due to construction on the Hoosier Heartland Highway. The tower, for station WXXB, was being moved to County Road 600 North near County Road 900 East.

The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals signed off on the new tower construction last August and the work started earlier this spring, according to John Schurz, general manager of the WASK radio group that’s building the tower.

The tower site is near the intersection of County Roads 600 North and 900 East by Colburn.

Founded in 1943 to develop antennas for military aircraft, in the early 1990s ERI began designing, manufacturing and installing broadcast towers.

It is not known if the erection crew members worked for ERI or were subcontracted to install the tower.

Garcia and Aliss were the second and third tower technicians to die this year after falling from a communications structure.

As always our thoughts and prayers go out to these climbers families and coworkers.

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A 43-year-old Georgia tower technician fell to his death from a 300-foot self supporting tower in Okeechobee, Fla. on Sunday February 20.

Michael Anthony Scott of Hazlehurst, Ga. was 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 for working for Davis Specialties of Waycross, GA at about 110 to 120 AGL when the victim fell to his death.

Scott was the first industry worker to die in 2011 from falling from a communications structure. The tower was constructed in 2009. The case is being investigated by OSHA.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, and to his coworkers. It’s never easy to hear about one of our brethren.

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Incidents like this is what makes tower climbing a risky business. Sometimes its tom foolery. Sometimes its the morons who think free climbing is authorized. Sometimes it’s things you just can not do anything about, and those are the most dangerous because no matter how much your practice safety, how much you prepare sometimes things just go bad. Sometimes it’s poor management trying to crank out every red nickel they can from an exhausted crew to meet a impossible schedule.

Fortunately for every idiot we have 2 dozen safe tower dogs who will see another view, and climb another one.

Our prayers are with these.

Via Wireless Estimator

William Fox, 49, suffered severe facial injures, police said, and a hospital spokeswoman said he was listed in fair condition.

Kelly Dougherty, 30, suffered a foot injury, and he was being evaluated Monday evening, authorities said.

Gregory Campbell, 44, went to the hospital for evaluation and was discharged.
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October 25, 2010 – Two tower techs fell while working on a WCNY antenna on the WKTV tower on Smith Hill Rd., north of Utica, NY this morning at 11:30 a.m.

A third tower tech hit his head on a tower leg following the rigging accident, but was able to climb his way down and was then transported to a local hospital along with his co-workers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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From AGL:

Even though he appeared to be taking appropriate precautions and was wearing a safety harness, a technician fell 100 feet from a cell tower in Erie, Pa., on Sept. 7, according to the Erie Times-News. He did not, amazingly enough, hit the ground and is currently in a hospital receiving treatment.

Mystery surrounds the worker’s descent. The man was tied in when he fell, but his fall protection apparently failed when it was activated and he continued to fall.

The TowerSource database shows a 125-foot monopole, managed by Crown Castle International, at that address with transmitters belonging to AT&T.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fall-protection equipment and the company’s fall-protection program, according to the newspaper. The man’s identity and condition were not available.

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From Wireless Estimator

Two tower technicians died after the Anniston, Alabama guyed tower they were working on Thursday was accidentally knocked down.

From Wireless Estimator

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.Fatal Tower Collapse

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.

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I hate hearing about this, but the job is extremely dangerous for a reason. All too often people take short cuts that they shouldn’t thinking they are bigger than life. They aren’t. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case here and rather just freak accident. Which does not make it any easier on the family.

From Wireless Estimator

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 and fell over 120 feet to his death.

Clearwire, which is majority owned by Sprint/Nextel, oftentimes co-locates 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.

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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A 36-year-old tower technician died May 4 after falling from a radio communications tower owned by Tri-County Electric of Madison, Fla.

Joseph White from Hawthorne, Fla., and his co-workers, employed by North Florida Tower Service based in Lake City, Fla., were performing tower work for Foley Timber Company and the State of Florida Division of Forestry.

The crew was 240 feet up the 400-foot tower and ascending when White fell to his death. He was wearing a safety harness at the time of the incident, according to Dixie County Sheriff’s officer Major Scott Harden.

North Florida Tower Service employed the technician for two years but he had several years of experience in this field of work. Nicknamed “Kojak,” White is survived by his mother, Mary White; daughter, Jasmine White; son, Jacob White; and brother, Stephen Bryan.

H/t AGL Mag

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