The company that employed two of the three people killed in the collapse of a pair of cellphone towers in Clarksburg, W.Va., was sanctioned after a fatal accident in 2009 in Missouri, according to Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) records. The Exponent Telegram reported last month that OSHA cited S&S Communications, the employer, with two “serious” violations after an employee fell to his death from a 330-foot communications tower in Oregon County, Mo. The worker detached his harness, but should have had a secondary tether, according to OSHA. The company was fined $3,000. An OSHA spokesman, Scott Allen, said that this was “a preventable accident.” In addition, OSHA said two S&S employees were found to have “defective components” in their lanyards.
Two workers for the Oklahoma-based company were killed when a 300-foot tower owned by SBA Communications collapsed. One of the contractors was more than 60 feet up on the tower and the other about 20 feet up when the structure toppled. Two other workers on the tower were injured. A Volunteer Fire Department firefighter on the scene also died after a second, smaller tower collapsed a few minutes later, striking him. He was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
OSHA is currently investigating the incident. Prentice Cline, area director for the agency’s Charleston office, said it could take up to six months to determine whether to issue any violations. The four workers were performing maintenance to strengthen the tallest tower’s structure when it collapsed, killing the two workers.
Sources: Claims Journal and The Exponent Telegram
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