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Cell towers have become a source of serious work accidents

You probably enjoy the convenience of your cell phone, as many people do nowadays. It took a little more than a decade, but the smartphone market has saturated the country -- and, in many respects, the world -- with glowing devices that let us connect with people all across the globe and play all sorts of games. However, have you ever stopped and thought about what it takes behind the scenes to make your cell phones run so efficiently?

Obviously the technology inside the phones and the manufacturing process are crucial in this regard. But we're talking about the actual cell towers that give your phone the reception and lightning-quick internet connectivity it needs to function properly. These towers didn't just pop up overnight. It took many years for these towers to be constructed, and it takes routine maintenance and work to ensure the towers are functioning properly.

As a result, there are many cell tower contractors that send people up these towers to upgrade them. For example, LTE technology is a major trend with cell phones right now. To provide that tech to customers, these towers need to be upgraded to so that they can handle LTE. Workers are put in precarious positions on these towers -- and it's no surprise that accidents happen.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 13 people died working on cell towers in 2013, which is more than 2011 and 2012 combined. Falls, equipment failure and structural collapses were among the reasons for these deaths. OSHA is now making a safety push for cell tower workers, saying that cell carriers and cell tower contractors need to do a better job protecting their tower employees.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "OSHA Warns Companies After Rise in Cell Tower Deaths," Ryan Knutson and Melanie Trottman, Feb. 11, 2014

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