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06.23.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
DTV is risky business

Last week a highly trained tower worker for the SpectraSite Broadcast Group fell 1,200 feet off a broadcast tower he was working on and died in an apparent safety equipment failure. Carlos Munoz, 22, is the fourth person to die in a broadcast tower accident in Nebraska in the last 14 months.

The fatal accident illustrates the dangers involved with working so high up in the air to install the necessary antennas for digital television transmission. Crews are rigorously trained for months before they are allowed to climb a tower, said an employee at SpectraSite (who asked not to be identified), as was the case with Munoz.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident and analyzing the safety equipment to determine a cause. Munoz was attached to the tower with a harness before the fall, but somehow it became dislodged.

“Munoz was well trained and knew what he was doing,” said the SpectraSite employee. “We’re all very sad. Every one of our employees understands the risks involved with tower work.”

Munoz was part of a crew working on the KOLN-TV/KGIN-TV shared tower 30 miles west of Lincoln, Neb. to reinforce it after a DTV antenna was installed last fall. Two other workers were on the 1,500-foot tower at the same time but were not injured.

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