Demand Rigorous Safety Standards for Cell Phone Tower Workers

Target: Randall L. Stephenson, C.E.O. of AT&T

Goal: Insist upon more rigorous safety standards and training procedures for cell phone tower climbers.

High-tech, high-speed mobile devices have become our go-to method of communication in recent years, but extensive 3G network expansions have come at a steep price: the lives of cell phone tower workers. From 2003 to 2011, nearly 100 workers died falling from communications towers, and more than half of that number died while working on cell sites. Since its inception, cell phone tower climbing has reached a death rate nearly 10 times that of construction.

To save costs and time, major cell carriers outsource tower climbing work to subcontractors. Because these tower climbing companies are so far removed from the major corporations that supply cell phone and data service to millions of Americans, they often aren’t scrutinized for worker safety and training procedures. As a result, many tower climbers embark on jobs with meager training and shoddy equipment. In a recent investigation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered that faulty or misused equipment was responsible for almost one-third of all tower deaths since 2003. Other deaths could be attributed to cursory safety training and a lack of adequate supervision on tower jobs.

AT&T has the highest rate of tower deaths of any major cell carriers in the country. As a leader in the cellular industry, AT&T has a responsibility to ensure that all workers that help ensure its service–subcontracted or not–receive proper safety training and onsite job management. Tell the company’s CEO to sever all ties with subcontractors that don’t train their workers adequately and insist upon safe conditions for all those working under the AT&T umbrella.


Dear Randall L. Stephenson,

Since the demand for high-speed cellular networks skyrocketed, cell phone tower climbing has proved to be both one of the most necessary and most dangerous jobs in America. With a death rate nearly 10 times that of construction, this work is both vital and unreasonably perilous. Most workers who fell to their deaths from cell phone towers were either using faulty equipment or had not been properly trained to use their equipment safely.

The cellular industry has a responsibility to ensure proper training for all workers who enable our country’s vast data networks. As a leader in the industry, AT&T has the opportunity to demand better worker safety standards from its many subcontractors. By severing ties with subcontractors with a history of safety infractions, you can greatly reduce the risks associated with cell phone tower work. I ask that you set an example for other cell carriers by ensuring that no workers face untimely death on an AT&T cell tower job.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Steve Kazella via Wikimedia Commons.

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One Comment

  1. Health risks to both employees and consumers come last when big money is involved. This goes for most of our commodities on the market.

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