Cellphone Towers Collapse in Clarksburg, Three Killed
Local law enforcement officers have identified three victims who were killed when two cellphone towers collapsed in Clarksburg on Saturday. The victims included two workers and a responding firefighter, according to a press release from state police.
The incident began when four workers were performing repairs on a 300-foot tall cellphone tower in Summit Park. Just before noon, the tower collapsed, killing two of the workers and injuring two others. The downed tower weakened another nearby tower that also collapsed, killing a firefighter who was responding to the scene.
Federal regulators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) are investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident. The cellphone industry - which is rapidly expanding - has seen a number of worker injuries and fatalities. OSHA officials have also noted an alarming increase in injuries and deaths at communications tower worksites. An investigative report from PBS in 2012 found that many accidents were caused by employer missteps, including inadequate safety equipment and inadequate worker training. The report also stated that the death rate for tower climbing is approximately 10 times higher than in the construction industry.
Although the cause of this particular accident is still under investigation, it serves to highlight the importance of employer safety precautions. Regardless of the industry, safety and employees should be top priorities. Unfortunately, far too many companies place profits over people, and therefore place their workers at risk of suffering preventable harm.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our West Virginia personal injury lawyers are committed to representing workers who have been injured on the job and to holding employers accountable for their negligence. If you or your loved one would like more information about your rights after a workplace accident, call (800) 900-0673 for a FREE consultation.
UPDATE: Officials from OSHA recently discovered that the workers' employer - S&S Communications - had previously been sanctioned for a 2009 fatal accident in Missouri. OSHA had deemed this accident preventable. Read more about the safety violations here.