A rise in cell-tower deaths is being attributed to the breakneck rollout of 3G cellular services, which require equipment on the tall installations to be upgraded. Fortune’s Apple blog tallies five deaths in only 12 days, following months of accident-free operation.
April 12: A 34-year-old cell tower technician from Oklahoma man died after falling 150 feet from monopole antenna in Wake Forest, NC. It was the nation’s first death in 2008 of a communications worker falling from an elevated structure.
April 14: A tower worker employed by Cornerstone Tower of Grand Island, Neb., fell to his death in Moorcroft, WY.
April 15: A 38-year-old technician finished tightening the bolts on a guyed wireless tower in San Antonio, TX, “sort of lean[ed] back a little,” according to witnesses, and fell 225 feet to his death.
April 17: North Carolina suffered its second cell tower fatality in a week when a 46-year-old Chesapeake, VA, man fell from a communications antenna in Frisco, NC.
April 23: A Griffin, GA, man died from extensive head and chest injuries after falling 100 feet from a communications tower near Natchez, MS. He was reportedly hanging boom gates to a Cell South antenna when he fell.
May 16: Guilford was rappelling down a load line attached to a 200 foot monopole when he stopped abruptly 140 feet up and bounced as if on a bungee cord, disengaging the carabiner that was secured to the tower.
After the first two deaths, AT&T ordered what must be an army of subcontractors to stand down and provide safety courses for their techs. Is it simply a statistical function of increased activity, or is AT&T pushing too hard to get its 3G network up and running in time for the new iPhone?
Fatal bandwidth: 6 cell tower deaths in 5 weeks [Fortune Apple2.0 via TechCrunch]