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Feds Slow to Act in Cellular Deaths at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

Accidents on U.S. cell-phone towers have resulted in fatalities on a number of occasions.

But an investigation by PBS’ “Frontline” and ProPublica has found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not sanctioned cellular carriers for safety violations implicated in any deaths of subcontractors on cell sites since 2003.

Only once since 2003 has OSHA tried to fine a wireless provider, Frontline and ProPublica reported, but the agency lost in a three-year battle with a cellular regional carrier in Kentucky. And in spite of the fact that there have been nearly two dozen fatalities on jobs done for networks owned by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon, the federal agency has never taken on the big four wireless carriers, the report said.

What is more, the fines levied by OSHA have modest in cases involving death. ProPublica and Frontline found that the median fine levied for safety violations linked to a fatal tower accident over the last nine years has been $3,750.

For more in-depth coverage of the hazards of cellular towers, click here to read part one of the two-part series by ProPublica and Frontline.


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