Labor Department, FCC Announce Working Group to Curb Telecommunications Industry Deaths

AT&T was also a part of the event that announced the group's formation.

The Department of Labor, the Federal Communications Commission, and AT&T held an event focusing on new and continuing efforts to prevent worker fatalities on cell towers, DOL announced. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and FCC Chairman Thomas E. Wheeler spoke at the event to announce a new working group that will collaborate in the development and implementation of recommended safety practices for the growing telecommunications industry.

"The cellphones in our pockets can't come at the cost of a worker's life. The cell tower industry might be small, with 10,000 to 15,000 workers, but it's quickly proving to be one of the most dangerous. If we don't do something now, the number of fatalities is going to grow as fast as the industry does," Perez warned. "We know we can't solve this problem alone, though, and that's why I am so glad to be joined in partnership on this issue with the FCC and major carriers like AT&T. It is a perfect example of federal agencies and industry breaking down barriers and identifying common goals to save workers' lives."

The event also featured a morning workshop led by OSHA and two panel discussions looking at the root causes of the high fatality and injury rates as well as solutions of them. "The fatality rate in this industry is extraordinarily high – tower workers are than 10 times as likely to be killed on the job as construction workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSH Dr. David Michaels. "But these deaths are preventable. OSHA has developed a comprehensive initiative to ensure that safer working conditions and best practices are not just recommendations, but the law of the land."

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