Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2007

2 workers killed in fall from tower

Men were at least 500 feet high

July 11, 2007


Two men dead after falling from communication tower

Two men are dead after falling several hundred feet off a communications tower southeast of Lawrence. Enlarge video

Investigators are trying to determine what caused two workers to fall hundreds of feet to their deaths from a communications tower Tuesday in rural Douglas County.

Around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the two men were installing telecommunications equipment on the 1,000-foot tower near East 1750 and North 1100 roads, about 2 miles south of Kansas Highway 10. They were working in a bucket hoisted about 500 feet to 800 feet from the ground, according to Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern.

It is unclear how the men were secured, he said.

Authorities said the men were killed on impact. Pending notification of their families, the sheriff declined to release the victims' names but said they were not from Douglas County.

"I've been here 27 years, and I don't recall anything like this," McGovern said. "It's horrific for the families."

Cliff Allison, vice president and general manager of KSHB-TV and KMCI-TV in Kansas City, Mo., said contractors were installing a new antenna as part of Sprint Nextel Corp.'s bandwidth conversion of its Nextel network. Allison said his company no longer owns the tower but uses it for relaying broadcasts from Lawrence.

"It's very tragic," Allison said.

The tower is now owned by TFMComm Inc., a Topeka-based wireless communications company.

"The workers that were involved were subcontracted by a tenant on the tower," said Samantha Conaway, TFMComm spokeswoman.

The men worked for a Missouri-based company, Conaway said. She declined to release any further information.

The accident is being investigated by McGovern's office, the Douglas County Coroner and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Further details are expected to be released at 10 a.m. today, according to Lt. Kari Wempe, Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.


stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 8 months ago

Pywacket Actually, yesterday it was front-page "breaking news" on this site for a few hours.

amanda_lazer 10 years, 8 months ago

This is what I found in

Personal climbing equipment -- 1910.268(g)(1) General. Safety belts and straps shall be provided and the employer shall ensure their use when work is performed at positions more than 4 feet above ground, on poles, and on towers. No safety belts, safety straps or lanyards acquired after July 1, 1975 may be used unless they meet the tests set forth in paragraph (g)(2) of this section. The employer shall ensure that all safety belts and straps are inspected by a competent person prior to each day's use to determine that they are in safe working condition.

gr 10 years, 8 months ago

"It is unclear how the men were secured, he said."

Apparently.... they weren't.

Why? "No safety belts, safety straps or lanyards acquired after July 1, 1975 may be used unless they meet the tests set forth in paragraph (g)(2) of this section."

Ahhh. Maybe their available safety straps were acquired after July 1, 1975 and failed to meet the tests set forth. Therefore, rather than breaking the law, they didn't use them.

Dixie Jones 10 years, 8 months ago

who cares what happened here we have 2 men dead, two families dealing with a lost life many friends dealing with the fact they will never talk to their friend again, i think put the solving of the accident aside and extend your prayers and sympathy to all left behind by them. pull your heads out and hear the pop.

To the families of the two men: May god comfort you in your time of need. our prayers are with you , your family and the friends they left behind. god bless

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

You can't put the solving of the accident aside. I'm sure the families of these poor men would like to know why they died.

And I'm also sure they would want changes made so that no more families will have to endure what they are going through now.

imastinker 10 years, 8 months ago

Yes, but I'm not sure they want to read speculation about this.

They said on the radio that they were in a bucket of some sort and it had failed.

gr 10 years, 8 months ago

"And I'm also sure they would want changes made so that no more families will have to endure what they are going through now."

Yeah, pass more silly laws.

Ever consider that there will always be accidents that happen? Sometimes, no matter how safe one attempts to be, something happens. Creating some foundation to pass laws takes more freedoms away from us. You just can't keep everyone safe all the time. Accidents will happen.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 8 months ago

Who said anything about passing more laws? Sheesh...

Maybe someone would like to find out if the safety laws already in existence were followed? Maybe they'd like to know that the equipment was checked and re-checked as carefully as it should have been. And maybe in the future, because of this accident, someone else will be a little more careful.

pelliott 10 years, 8 months ago

I care what happened, investigation of industrial accidents and finding the cause is more than important. OSHA standards for high and underground work saves lifes and cost money. Worker safety is usually connected to regular safe work practices. If for some reason these guys weren't using the right equiptment, lots of questions, did they have it available, did it fail, Sometimes things happen, and are just accidents, but some accidents have a preventable cause or infomation about them can help prevent another occurance. I am sorry for the families loss. I respect the people in jobs that are hazardous. They don't get the recognition but they are hard working people and to quote my old man, they got the guts.

Tom McCune 10 years, 8 months ago

I have done building inspection work on the outside of high-rise buildings, and here is how it usually works, at least on tall buildings. Don't know about communication towers...

There is a motorized scaffolding (a.k.a. window washing rig) that is pulled up and down the outside face of the building on cables. The workers on the rig each have individual safety lines which run from a "parachute harness" on their body to a structural fitting on the roof of the building. There is a special fitting on the harness that takes up any slack in the safety line as the rig moves. The idea is that if the rig falls, the individual safety lines will catch and hold the workers. You would probably be injured somewhat, but would not be killed by falling to the ground.

This may not be possible with towers like it is with tall buildings, since in the case of a building, you can rig all of this gear from the roof.

So sad for the families. Just hard working guys trying to earn a living.

deloreschampcla 10 years, 8 months ago

The owner of Structural Inspections, Jerry Case, was my husband's best friend. They'd known each other since childhood. Jerry's father (who passed away several years ago) was in this business before Jerry. They NEVER cut corners when it came to safety. Jerry used only the best safety equipment. Jerry and Kevin were using this safety equipment. They were "attached" to the bucket being raised by a cable. It was the cable that failed, causing this accident. And that's what it was, an accident. Nothing Jerry or Kevin or their operator did caused it. Thank you for your comments, peachesncream.

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