Only one worker died falling from a wireless tower in 2012. That figure was up to eight in 2019. Many more were injured. Tower climbers are among the workers at the highest risk for fatal falls in the workplace. Workplace fatalities in the U.S are three times higher in the U.K.

The danger makes it hard to recruit new workers. DC believes the U.S. needs more trained workers for 5G success. The easiest way to make that happen is to enforce existing OSHA safety standards. Some simple steps: FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, active in this topic, should meet with an OSHA counterpart and find ways for the FCC to help. I'd suggest

  • Add to the FCC website a section on tower safety. OSHA can provide the information and the FCC could add links to training. Training options can easily be found at Wireless Estimator. A yearly press release with data could draw attention.
  • Require all parties - telcos, towers, contractors - be responsible for safety. Too often, they just blame others.
  • Making sharing networks and radios easier, which reduces the number of towers, cost, and time.

It's not clear why DC believes in a worker shortage. Telco capital spending is flat to down, few new towers are being erected, and small cell numbers are growing slowly. Telcos continue to eliminate thousands of jobs held by workers who could be retrained.

Wireless Estimator writes "FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said during the hearing that there is a need to 'have to train another 20,000 tower techs.' Wireless Estimator in past inquiries to the FCC can not obtain an answer as to how the often-quoted shortage was identified

Jessica Rosenworcel, Brendan Carr, Jonathan Adelstein: What's going on?

Mike Sainato's article in The Guardian inspired me to write this article. Wireless Estimator has the details on each of the eight in 2019, along with extensive safety information.