Re: In Race For Better Cell Service, Men Who Climb Towers Pay With Their Lives [telecom]
- From: HAncock4 <withheld@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 29 May 2012 10:10:39 -0700 (PDT)
On May 25, 10:32 pm, Monty Solomon <mo...@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Ryan Knutson, PBS Frontline, and Liz Day
Work complete, Guilford sped his descent by rappelling on a rope.
Safety standards required him to step down the metal pole, peg by peg,
using a special line that would catch automatically if he fell. But
tower climbing is a field in which such rules are routinely ignored.
I read the article, and found it somewhat misleading and not very
informative--I don't think it defines the problem very well.
First, it seems to focus on the "3G" upgrade. But wasn't there a big
rush to build cell phone towers in the first place when cellular
service first came out? At that time, many new towers were required
to be built from scratch--what was the injury experience then?.
Further, didn't towers all have to be upgraded during the conversion
of analog to digital?
Secondly, it makes it sound as if a cell phone tower worker is a
unique new occupation. But there are many towers out there, such as
television and radio, and there used to be a several networks of
microwave towers. There are a great many towers to carry high tension
electric power lines. In addition, when new buildings and bridges are
erected, there is a craft known as "iron workers" who build the raw
steel skeleton; this group has always had to deal with the challenge
of working in dangerous high places in a fast paced environment. (see
G. Talese, "The Bridge", about building the Verrazano-Narrows
Bridge.) Indeed, communication line construction hazards go way back--
builders of Western Union telegraph lines faced a variety of hazards.
Third, it seems to blame the cell phone carriers for the accidents.
The real culprit is _outsourcing_, but that is a separate issue (a
valid and troubling issue, to be sure). The carriers, like any
competitive business, want to minimize costs to maximize profits so
they outsource to very 'lean' businesses. Traditional landline
carriers and cable companies also outsource work to independent
To me, the best solution in the existing environment is for workplace
regulators to properly enforce the safety rules.
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