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Desc:Something to think about next time you're streaming porn to your phone
Category:General Station
Tags:frontline, cell phones, OSHA, business as usual, tower climbing
Submitted:Scrotum H. Vainglorious
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Comment count is 14
SolRo - 2015-11-23
I wonder which political party made OSHA as toothless as a newborn?
infinite zest - 2015-11-23
Yeah.. haven't watched the video yet but when I had to be up on fairly tall ladders and such (I'd say probably 60 feet off the ground) as well as change lightbulbs at the very top of an old movie palace with very little 80 year-old wooden support, I always wondered why that part of the job was never explained to me in the interview.

We were all recent college grads or currently going to school, and at least in my case, I had never been up that high, unless you count chairlifts, but it's like sending the people who work at the ski resort's restaurant to get up and fix a chairlift when it breaks down. We just weren't the right people for that kind of work, but we sucked it up and did it anyway and luckily nobody was hurt, at least when I was in charge.. The only time OSHA stepped in was when our 80 year old furnace broke and people in the theatre got carbon monoxide poisoning, which makes sense, but it was kind of like "well NOW we're worried because the general public could get hurt, but these other guys, eh, fuck 'em."

SolRo - 2015-11-23
Customers are revenue

Employees are an expense

Money must be protected at all cost

infinite zest - 2015-11-23
Yep. When I said I was "in charge" I was just a Chief of Staff at the highest (sounds more important than it is; I made 7.75 an hour and floor staff made 7.50), and if I found out that another employee was simply afraid of heights or didn't want to do it for whatever reason, I'd just do it myself, even though technically I needed a spotter because someone had to do it and it was my ass if it wasn't. Just for some dumbass movie marquees, and I'd say 75% of people would come in and the first thing they'd ask is "what are you showing?" Ugh.. customers..

chumbucket - 2015-11-24
OSHA just gets in the way of quick revenue and profit streams.

The Mothership - 2015-11-23
With respect, I will only think about naked women when I stream porn to my phone.

When not doing that, I have all the sympathy in the world for working folks being fucked by the man, having been working folks fucked by the man for many years. Not on towers like this, but still.
infinite zest - 2015-11-24
So.. that training video is dated 2010, and specifically encourages free climbing implying that it's a requirement, but here, they talk about how it's discouraged partially because of deaths that made national attention several years earlier. I know people bend the rules at any job, but nowhere in a food safety video will it tell you that it saves time NOT to wash your hands for a full 90 seconds, or that the "safety zone" isn't as big of a deal as you think it is as long as it's close, etc. etc.
SolRo - 2015-11-24
You're confusing consumer (money) safety with worker (peon) safety again.

Safety for minimum wage workers is never to exceed the cost of just training a healthy new replacement.

EvilHomer - 2015-11-24
I know this is a piece of investigative journalism, and as such, a certain level of editorial menace and emotional manipulation is to be expected. I don't mind that. However, having watched this clip, the training video, and read a few articles, I must admit that I'm having a hard time seeing what exactly the problem is with this job. Now, hear me out, because it's important to remember that people (you and I included) have a tendency to project their own fears and preconditioned social attitudes onto new situations. I think it is fair to say that most people are afraid of heights, and would never in a million years consider climbing a fifteen hundred foot tower, with ropes or not. As such, it can be very hard to maintain objectivity when the one thought foremost in your mind is "FUCK. GET ME OUT OF HERE!" But objectivity is exactly what we need, and we must have a care that we do not let our own fears lead us into job-shaming, and making up backseat OSHA-rules for a workplace culture which many of us have only just learned about!

Two points to consider:

One, some people love to climb. I mean, really, they LOVE to climb! We've all seen parkour videos and GoPro footage shot by Russian freeclimbers - people in those scenes do stuff like this as a hobby, for fun, for free. Get to climb crazy high, AND get paid between and an hour - heck, if you're an adrenaline junky, why NOT do something like this?! This isn't a job for everyone, of course, but if you've got a brave and adventurous sort of mindset, if you are the kind of person who gets a rush out of spitting in the face of death (even the propaganda-oriented journalists in this video are forced to admit that most cell tower workers are indeed these sorts of people), then surely we can see why repairing cell towers might be an ideal career choice. See also: cops, firemen, Coasties, skyscraper construction workers, fishermen, NASCAR drivers, professional mountaineers, Jackass stuntmen, and bouncers. All callings where brave men and women risk life and limb to provide services for the rest of us cowards.

Two, the actual statistics. As OZ's previous link indicates {1}, over the last eight years, there have been fifty fatalities on poles like this. Fifty. Honestly, that's not very many! I mean, if there were thousands of people dropping off cell towers every year, then yes perhaps the sensationalism would be justified. But there isn't; it's maybe like five to ten people, nationwide. In fact, more workers are killed deep sea fishing in any single year, than have been killed by falling off cell phone towers since the technology was first widely adapted{2}! FURTHERMORE, the numbers of fatalities for this career are heavily skewed by AT&T. Again, as OZ's link indicates, the vast majority of deaths took place on AT&T towers; if you're getting service from someone like Sprint or Verizon, the actual number of deaths is actually far lower, maybe one or two per year. Not too shabby, right? We have to remember, a lot of jobs are dangerous. But when measured against the human costs of things like diamonds, crabmeat, and of course gasoline{3}, cell phones - well, they really don't come out too bad.

So, again, not really seeing what the big deal is here. Is there something I'm missing? Let me know below.

{1} http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/cell-tower-d eaths/in-race-for-better-cell-service-men-who-climb-towers-pay-wit h-their-lives/
{2} http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5927a2.htm
{3} https://www.iraqbodycount.org/
infinite zest - 2015-11-24
Yeah it's true that it would attract climbers who might just do it on the weekends and have to pay to do it, the same way someone might want to join the ski patrol if they like to ski and get paid. And the video does mention that it can attract a certain type of thrillseeker crowd, but besides a possible adrenaline rush like I got out of doing my climbing (when it was finished, not when I was up there) none of the fatalities reported had any climbing experience, just needed a job and decided this makes more money than flipping burgers and a little more fun because you're doing field work and not stuck behind a desk or a grill.

And if someone does want to pursue this line of work, I'm sure they're told of the risks and get proper education on everything they are required to do prior to training, but most of that training is done on the field. Imagine what a quagmire the US Army or Navy would get in if they just hired people off the streets and sent them into a battlezone with on-field training. Because they did once and that was known as Shanghaiing. But in this line of work your first training day could be your last, because where else are you going to train? Another 1,500 foot tower?

memedumpster - 2015-11-24
Then go do it.

I've climbed 1500' rocks without ropes, fuck the people who make people do this just to make enough money so their family doesn't starve.

Fucking psychopath.

memedumpster - 2015-11-24
" Fifty. Honestly, that's not very many!"

Then go kill the fifty closest people to you and marvel at how it's not that many.

Today I seriously fucking hate you.

Time for a poeBreak! See you all in 2016 if not Christmas.

Happy holidays.

infinite zest - 2015-11-24
Meme that's what I was saying. Somebody who genuinely enjoys climbing might really be attracted to this line of work vs. I dunno, sitting in an office waiting for the weekend to roll around. But that's not who they're hiring, and demand is so high for towers that they'll hire anyone who is willing to do it. In Guilford's case, he just "walked in, filled out an application walked out and had a job starting work the next day." In my experience, I've never had to wait any less than a week after an interview to hear if I did or didn't get a job. And that's what I meant about improper training: join a climbing group like Mazamas and you get plenty of time to fall onto a cushioned service, and any other job you're expected to fuck up once or twice your first week, something that this job cannot afford.

infinite zest - 2015-11-24
But happy holidays to you as well! :)

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