Lack of Safety Harness Leads to Death Plunge from TV Tower

Source: Photo by Yuri Bodrikhin on Unsplash

Des Moines, IA – A worker who fell 1,000 ft to his death from a TV tower was found not to have been attached to safety equipment to slow or stop his fall.

OSHA has cited Precision Communications Inc., for two serious violations totaling $15,520 in fines.

Kevin D. Wright, 47, of Evansville, Indiana, died May 22 after slipping and falling while repairing a KDSM FOX 17 tower near Alleman in Polk County.

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.

Wright was 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 by OSHA of the fall protection equipment available shows that some of the pieces of equipment to attach the fall protection system did not have the required strength and were not part of the system approved by the manufacturer.

Precision Communications maintains, however, the victim had the correct fall protection equipment but did not have it attached at the time of the fall.

A company spokesman said the other citation was for equipment that a worker was using on the ground, and the company believes that attachment had adequate strength.