This case involves a woman who was employed and certified as an authorized tower climber by a nationally recognized safety authority in Rhode Island. On the date of the incident in question, the woman was working as a cell tower climber, which partially served as a WLAN wireless access point, and was working to install equipment near the top of a cell phone tower in Oregon. As the woman was performing her work, a large piece of radio equipment suddenly came loose from the tower, causing her to fall and suffer serious injuries. The equipment in question was positioned in such a way that it was necessary for the workers to climb on it in order to complete the task. It is alleged that the equipment was not properly fixed to the tower or improperly installed.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your knowledge and experience with cell phone tower construction and installation.
- 2. Have you held a role that involved the training or oversight of climber safety?
- 3. What safety precautions should be observed when working on this equipment?
Expert Witness Response E-099907
I am Comtrain Certified, and I have worked on over 100 different towers in the past 4 years. I have had oversight of climber safety on several projects. When working on or around a rack of this nature, it should be treated as any other piece of equipment: ensure it is secured and do not climb on it if you can avoid it. Nevertheless, the fact that the rack was able to be dislodged from the tower this easily is disconcerting, and could indicated that the equipment was installed in a negligent manner.
This expert has been in the information technology space since 1989, with experience spanning sales, service/support, systems administration, network architecture, and wireless engineering. He has completed ComTrain instructional sessions and is certified to climb communications towers. The expert has background working at 250+ feet on towers, rooftops, and water towers. He has configured WiFi, microwave, and other wireless networking equipment. Currently, the expert is the owner of a private WiFi and communications tower consulting business.
Expert Witness Response E-099905
It sounds like the rack was improperly installed and “captured” the safety climb device. This is a lazy practice that occurs when the engineer or installation tech does not install the proper brackets or does not want to take the time to remove the safety climb device and reinstall. On the other hand, it could be that therack was not properly installed or tightened down causing the unit to fall.