Just days after the airing of “Cell Tower Deaths” on Front Line, a PBS program, another climber fell while working on a cell tower. Only this one, 31-year-old Shad Lierley, lived to tell about it.
On May 16 in Austin, Texas, Lierley, who is employed by Platinum Communications, fell 100 feet while he and another crew member were upgrading antennas. The climber survived the fall and was taken to the hospital where he was held for observation. His condition is unknown.
The incident was apparently caused by an equipment malfunction. Lierley fell when he “tried to hook his lanyard to a webbing sling,” which “must have been cut by something on the tower,” according to the police report.
After the fall, one of AT&T’s construction management firms, Goodman Networks, issued a mandatory safety stand-down, according to a report by ProPublica, co-producer of the PBS program.
“This is a reminder of the dangers involved in our industry and to remind all of our employees and contractor personnel of the importance of planning safety into every project,” stated a bulletin from Goodman.
By the end of a five-day period, all contractors working for Goodman Networks were required to inspect all equipment used on their projects, including climbing and personal fall-arrest equipment, rescue equipment, ropes designated and used for rescue, first aid supplies, rigging, load lines, blocks, ropes, slings and all hoists or winches used for lifting.
According to the safety bulletin, contractors were responsible for making sure that all subcontractors working on Goodman Networks sites participated in the safety stand-down. The PBS show discussed the multiple layers of subcontractors used in cell site construction.