Employer in Fatal Cellphone Towers Collapse Sanctioned for Fatal Accident in 2009
On February 1st, three victims - including two workers and one responding firefighter - were killed when two communications towers collapsed in Clarksburg. Two other workers also suffered injuries. Soon after the fatal accident, it was discovered that the communications company - S&S Communications - had previously been fined after a 2009 fatal accident claimed the life of an employee in Missouri.
According to records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), S&S Communications was cited for two serious violations after a Missouri employee fell from a 330 foot communications tower in Oregon County. Investigators and officials from OSHA noted that the employee had detached a safety harness, but should have been equipped with a secondary tether. S&S Communications was fined $3,000 for what OSHA officials called a preventable accident. Two S&S employees involved in the incident were also found to have defective components in their equipment.
The sanction serves to highlight past safety violations made by S&S Communications, and raises the question as to whether the fatal accident on February 1st was also preventable. As has been reported by OSHA, injuries and deaths at communications tower worksites have increased dramatically in recent years. One investigative report conducted by PBS found that a great deal of these injuries and deaths were the result of employer missteps and violations involving safety equipment and worker safety training.
OSHA officials have stated that while an investigation into the recent fatal tower collapse is underway, it could take several months to determine if S&S committed any violations that may have caused or contributed to the accident. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our West Virginia injury lawyers have represented many local residents injured on the job. We work diligently to investigate the circumstances surrounding workplace accidents, and fight to ensure that negligent or careless employers are held accountable for their missteps.
If you or your loved one has been injured during the course of performing a job related duty and would like more information about your legal rights, call (800) 900-0673.