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Sue Martin Market Anaylist Iowa Public Television 6450 Corporate Drive Johnston, IA 50131 Dear Sue: With the recession, many Iowans are looking for jobs. The new upgrade to 4G network that everyone with a cell phone desires could provide hundreds of jobs for many unemployed Iowans. The problem is that nobody wants those jobs. Since the Frontline special about cell tower deaths, the tower industry has been reflected in a negative light due to accidents. A few bad apples should not spoil the bunch. We’re here to tell everyone that these accidents can easily be prevented. The tower industry offers a variety of different positions that could help everyone from the unemployed, to the cell phone owners who need towers built in order to get signal where they need it. In order for that to happen though, light needs to be shown on those companies who fail to go the distance with requiring regular safety training to workers, including documentation, providing bare minimum workers compensation for workers, and failing to consistently upgrade fall protection equipment due to extensive costs. The tower climbing industry is an investment. Employers must be willing to provide adequacies to the company and its workers in order to provide a safer working environment for all. In return, if companies begin to comply and up the care of their human capital, there will be far less accidents and more people willing to pursue a career in this growing industry. This is important because the tower industry is growing and needs more employees to help grow businesses, and provide services for all Iowans. Everyone would gain from this. Until companies take more responsibility for their actions, or lack there of, accidents are going to continue, and the industry is going to stay in the shadows of good career opportunities. I think this story would fit in well in the Market to Market section of Iowa Public Television. I hope to speak with you soon about this great journalistic opportunity. Sincerely,

Charlie Sandvick Public Relations Consultant Murphy Tower Service, LLC.



December 6, 2012

Contact: Charlie Sandvick Public Relations Consultant Murphy Tower Service, LLC. (319) 930-2186 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tower Climbing Industry Getting Bad Rap for PBS Frontline Special Tower companies argue the importance of safety in preventing work accidents CARLISLE, Iowa. (December 6, 2012) - PBS’s Frontline special on cell tower deaths reflects the cellular tower industry in a negative light because of the statistics shown about number of deaths, but what is not shown is the real reasons behind these fatalities and that they can be easily prevented. In the technological world of upgrades, 4G is king. Everyone in this day in age is looking for the best cellular service available, but the next time someone complains about their spotty service, keep in mind that in the recent race to get everyone connected, many tower climbers lost their lives. According to PBS’s Frontline special on cell tower deaths, 50 tower climbers died in accidents between 2003 and 2011. Because of these scary statistics, cell tower climbers have the most dangerous job in the United States. With no more than 10,000 workers in the industry, tower climbing has a death rate of roughly 10 times that of construction. Though these statistic are true, the real reasons behind most fatalities has been hidden and there is certain hope that similar future accidents should and can be prevented. A collection of factors contributes to these tower climbing fatalities, from inadequate training, unsafe and improper equipment, on-site supervisors giving approval to take shortcuts in order to meet rising demand, and employees acting unprofessional and daredevil risks. “Companies should not be allowed to accept bids from companies who do not properly train, insure, or update their employees’ fall protection equipment regularly,” said Patrick Murphy, owner of Murphy Tower Service, LLC of Carlisle. “Safety is the key to preventing these types of accidents from happening.” Tower companies can operate safely with the correct training, investments on equipment, and with highly-involved supervisors acting with great integrity and care for its workers. Some larger service providers are subcontracting their work down for others companies to do. The problem is that some of these subcontractors are doing bare minimum to pass what is legally obligated of them to pass bid requirements, which leaves them providing insufficient equipment and workers’ compensation for their workers because of expensive industry costs. Small companies can pay around six percent of overall payroll costs into workers’ compensation and thousands more for updates on adequate fall protection equipment. The costs are much more expensive for larger companies. -more-

Murphy Tower 20220 Iowa 5 Carlisle, IA 50047 (515) 989-9225

“Companies need to start providing documentation of all training, insurance, and equipment upgrades to prove that they are doing what is necessary of them to provide the highest level of safety for their workers,” said Murphy. “It has to start with someone or it will be a never-ending cycle. The industry is needing more workers, but without a proper image of safety and protection, it may always be insufficient.”

Charlie Sandvick Public Relations Consultant (319) 930-2186



About Murphy Tower Service, LLC. Murphy Tower Service is a family-owned business that has been operating for the last 20 years. Located in Carlisle, it is state-centered, but provides a range of fully-inclusive services to all 99 counties, particularly focusing in the Upper Midwest region. Murphy Tower Service prides itself on its zero-accident record and affiliation with the NATE STAR initiative. The company has worked with many clients from every cell phone service provider in the state of Iowa along with many local television and broadcast companies.

Murphy Tower has been a fully-inclusive, highly-skilled, turnkey company specializing in the construction of wireless and broadcast infrastructure sites with a zero-accident record for the last 20 years. Murphy Tower offers highly involved owners that focus on the quality of their work and the safety of its people. Located in central Iowa, Murphy Tower does work for all 99 counties and focuses on the Upper Midwest region.

OWNER Patrick Murphy, owner and member of Murphy Tower services has been running this business for the last 17 years.



This can be very costly to businesses, but the industry requires sufficient regular investments in workers and protection equipment in order to keep everyone safe.

CLIENTS Murphy Tower Service proudly serves numerous colleges and universities, local television and radio stations, and every cellular and mobile phone company operating in the state of Iowa including:

>US Cellular >Verizon Wireless >AT&T >And many others.

>iWireless >AT&T >T-Mobile


> Centrally located near Des Moines in Carlisle, IA.

> Serving all 99 counties, focusing on the Upper Midwest region.

EMPLOYEES Employees of Murphy Tower earn:

> Competitive Wages > Various Benefits such as:

- Health - Dental - Retirement Plan - Paid Vacation - Paid Safety Training

> On-the-job training with opportunties to assume leadership positions.

>Are provided with quality tools and equipment to ensure their safety while on the job.

RECOGNITION & ACHIEVEMENTS Murphy Tower is a member of the National Association of Tower Erectors Safety, Training, Accountability and Reliability initiative (NATE STAR), which is designed to help companies operate safety while recognizing tower erectors who voluntarily adhere to higher standards.


the training part. It is better to spend a few thousand dollars ensuring that employers do all that is possible to ensure that the company’s workers are safe, than to deal with a crisis afterwards that can cost many more thousands of dollars and your company’s reputation. Smaller companies have to spend almost $28,000 on paid wages during safety training; larger costs are required for larger companies.

Today, most people not only have cell phones, but rely on them heavily. In order for us to use our beloved cellphones, there must be towers that allow us to use our wireless communication. Cell tower climbers are needed to install, maintain and repair the technology on these cell towers. Because of the work they do, this occupation has been named the most dangerous job in the United States. According to a report released by ProPublica, the death toll among climbers is roughly 10 times higher than the rate for average construction workers in the United States.

Telecom construction is considered one of the most hazardous types of construction work. Because of this, small and medium sized businesses struggle in obtaining insurance that enables their business to fully-operate within their work-required obligations and make a profit. Although rates are rising, losses are declining due to better awareness of safety. Though it is expensive, insurance plays a big part in ensuring workers’ safety. According to Wireless Estimator, an online resource for the tower industry that tracks tower accidents, many companies can get by with the minimum requirements; these requirements are: statutory workers compensation, general liability coverage, automobile liability coverage, umbrella coverage, and coverage for property of others. Average costs for companies to purchase adequate coverage is between six to 25 percent of the total company payroll. Smaller companies may pay six percent of overall cost of payroll to provide proper workers’ compensation, which can add up to nearly $40,000. Due to the expensive costs, some companies purchase the absolute minimum that they are legally required to, which is worker’s compensation specific to tower climbing.

II. BACKGROUND According to Airwave Management LLC, back in July 2012, the total number of cellphone towers in the United States was up to 190,000. This number has grown since then, and will continue to grow in the future. With growing needs of cell towers and technology upgrades like 4G, there is also a growing need of cell tower climbers. The issue that arises with recruiting more tower climbers is that it is expensive and people generally have a negative perception about the occupation because of all the accidents and fatalities that often coincide with the job.

With all the negativity surrounding the image of this occupation, it needs to be known that these statistics can be dramatically lowered. The major way to lower the accidents and fatalities is for companies in the cell phone service to refrain from hiring untrained workers and to only award bids to companies that consistently upgrade equipment to ensure climbers’ safety and to have proper insurance on your company’s workers. Each contractor should have to electronically submit the past one to three years of training documents including signup sheets and course content. Companies should have to provide past time sheets and payroll reports showing that their employees actually get paid to sit in training. This is hard to falsify because the contractor would have to get all of the employees to sign a training document that they did not participate in; if the employer goes through all the trouble to gather the employees, the group might as well participate in the training itself. IV. ALTERNATIVE Most states require no license to climb a cell tower. This, in itself, generates risk because there are some employers properly ensuring workers’ safety by providing the right equipment, safety training, and providing their workers with the proper insurance needed, while other companies get away with cutting corners.

Training for cell tower climbers can get expensive for employers, but it is something that should absolutely be required. It is better to pay for your workers to be properly trained to prevent an accident from happening than to cut corners on training and have to deal with a more serious accident or fatality later. This happens frequently when larger companies sub-out work to smaller contractors. At the moment, it is easier to pay someone less to do the same work, than to pay someone more who will do the job right and safely the first time. This happens and this is part of the reason that the fatality statistics are so high. Many smaller companies struggle to properly and consistently inspect and replace safety equipment for their workers. The reason behind this is because it can cost around $9,000 or $1000 a month, which many companies cannot afford. This goes along with




The problem with this is that when there is a serious accident, the insurance company may not respond properly. This leads to business failure for many companies every single year. It is important for a companies to take care of their employees and put their value before a few saved dollars. Employers need to provide proper and not just adequate insurance for their workers in order to keep safety at a high priority. V. SOLUTION In order to increase the image of the tower climbing occupation and lower fatality and accident statistics nationwide, employers need to be held more accountable for protecting their workers and making sure that they are properly trained and prepared for the job. The main goal is to do all that you can to prevent any accidents. Prevention is the key. All tower climbers should be licensed before they climb; this means that they need to pass all training before they start, and stay updated in training during their career as a tower climber. Tower climbers need to be and stay educated on their job. If they keep educated, they will always know what they need to do, or how to keep updated on proper techniques. Employers need to prevent accidents by making sure the equipment they are providing for their employees is completely safe, no matter the cost. Employers need to be held accountable for providing the right insurance (workers compensation) for their workers. Workers need to know that if something happens, they will be taken care of. This problem is not going to go away unless more companies stand up for what is right. If not, companies will keep getting away with minimum requirements and the industry image will still be negative due to carelessness and the ongoing fatalities due to accidents. OSHA and NATE can continue to make available training programs, but unless companies of all sizes enforce that their employees continuously participate in them, then accidents are still going to happen. One death is one too many. Companies can prevent these accidents from happening as long as they hold themselves and their employees to high standards of safety and caution. It is possible for a company to have a zero-accident record and Murphy Tower Service LLC is a great example of the standards a company should hold itself to.

Murphy Tower LLC, Public Relations Booklet  

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