OSHA cites TV tower contractor after gin pole lifting device collapses, killing 3 workers

Company faces $12,934 in proposed penalties

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Tower King II Inc. -- a communication tower contractor -- after three employees were killed last year while attempting to install a new antenna on a communications tower in Miami Gardens.

The tower, which transmits the signal for Local 10 and WSVN, is located at 501 NW 207th St.

OSHA investigators determined that a gin pole lifting device collapsed Sept. 27, causing the workers to fall to their deaths.

WPLG's assistant chief engineer, Steve Ellis, said the workers were removing gear at the top of the tower to install the transmission antenna for WSVN when the accident occurred.

"When they were removing this gear, bringing the second piece down, what they call the gin pole lifting device collapsed," Ellis said.

Investigators determined that the Texas-based tower contractor "failed to ensure the capacity of the rigging attachments were adequate to support the forces imposed from hoisting loads," a U.S. Department of Labor news release stated. 

Tower King II was issued one citation for exposing employees to fall and struck-by hazards and faces $12,934 in proposed penalties -- the maximum allowed under law. 

"This tragedy underscores the importance of having a qualified individual conduct an analysis before performing construction work on communication towers," said Condell Eastmond, Fort Lauderdale OSHA office director. 

Tower King II has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to "comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission," the news release stated.

The Miami Gardens tower was completed in 2009 and began digital transmission the same year.

According to OSHA records, 13 people have died from television and cellular tower falls since October 2011.

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.