Iowa Worker Who Fell 1,000 feet Wasn’t Wearing Safety Equipment, Employer Cited
In May, an Iowa worker fell 1,000 feet from a television antenna tower and died. Further investigation showed he was not wearing available fall protection equipment. The employer now faces two serious violations, including inadequate strength in a protection attachment.
An Iowa worker took a 1,000-foot, fatal fall from a KDSM FOX 17 television antenna tower in May while repairing equipment on the tower. On July 5, the worker’s employer, Precision Communications Inc., was cited with two serious violations totaling $15,520 in fines.
Investigation of the incident shows that fall protection equipment was available to the worker, but he was not using it while working on the tower. According to OSHA citation documents, at the time of the fall, he was making a splice in the transmission lines to hook up an existing antenna. When he disconnected his positioning lanyard to reposition himself on the tower, he slipped and fell. He was not using a safety harness and lanyard for fall protection, and no other protection system such as a guardrail or safety net was in use.
Further investigation of the fall protection equipment available shows that some of the pieces of equipment to attach the fall protection system OSHA said did not have the required strength and were not part of the system approved by the manufacturer.
Ron Scalfani, a logistics coordinator with Precision Communications, said the company is negotiating with OSHA about the alleged violations because the victim had the correct fall protection equipment, but did not have it attached at the time of the fall. He also added that the other citation was for equipment that a worker was using on the ground, and the company believes that attachment had adequate strength.
“We’re just trying to figure out why the company is being cited for what the employee failed to do,” Scalfani said.