OSHA Concludes Contractor at Fault for Tower Collapse

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concluded that contractors were to blame for the collapse of the tower of KOZK-TV Fordland, Mo,(Ozarks Public Television) back in April. That is according to Current, which covers noncommercial TV and radio issues, per an OSHA report it obtained via a FOIA request.

The accident killed the head of one of the two engineering firms hired to reinforce the tower, Tower Consultants Inc. and Steve Lemay LLC. Lemay, who was contracted by TCI to do the structural reinforcements, was killed and three of his workers injured when the 1,891 ft. tower collapsed. 

[Read: 'The Most Dangerous Job in America']

OSHA concluded that removing bolts on diagonal braces during the reinforcing process compromised the structure, that Lemay used undersized equipment, and that TCI failed to approve the design of a temporary frame prior to replacing a diagonal, as it was required to do.

The station was being repacked from channel 23 to channel 16, according to the National Association of Broadcasters, and was in the FCC's first phase of stations needing to move to new channels, which must be completed by the end of November.

The reinforcement was required for the tower to comply with wind and ice loads.

NAB has expressed concerns about safety with so much tower work needed to meet the repack deadlines.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio WorldTV TechTV FaxThis Week in Consumer ElectronicsVariety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.