After troubleshooting a carrier’s equipment failure on an SBA Communications tower, Douglas Klein began making his descent down a 340-foot tower in Wichita, Kansas when he fell. The 27-year old tower technician died Sunday, November 24th as a result of injuries he received on Saturday. An employee at the cell site called 9-1-1 around 5:15 on Saturday saying the man had fallen approximately 60 feet. Wireless Estimator reported that, “According to workers familiar with the accident, the crew was working for Ericsson on a Sprint Network Vision project maintenance call. It is not known if Klein’s equipment failed or if he disconnected to get past an intermediate cable guide, but a co-worker said that he was attached to the safety climb during his initial descent.” Klein is the 13th tower technician fatality in 2013, which is the highest number of fatalities that have occurred in this industry since 2006 when there were 19 fatalities. Many of the wireless carriers are working as quickly as possible to deploy their new 4G LTE equipment, which puts pressure on tower workers to complete their jobs in a timely manner. This hurriedness can often lead to missed safety precautions and even workers taking the chance of free climbing. Free climbing is when a person who is climbing a tower isn’t connected to a fall arrest system.
Read more at InsideTowers.com.