According to the Society for Human Resource Management, during a recent ten-year span, there were 17 injuries and 91 fatalities from incidents involving cell towers. Of the 91 deaths, 79 were due to falls. Consider that climbers have to scale upwards of 2,000 feet, you’ll understand why this is considered one of the most dangerous jobs, not just in the telecom industry, but in the entire job market.
Enhancements in technology have driven up the demand for cell tower maintenance and led to higher numbers of fatal falls. But technology is also providing the solution.
Airborne drones, which can be used for visual inspection and the transport of equipment, are reducing the number of climbs. Someday, they may even completely eliminate the need to scale a tower.
For every climb, there is a risk. With even the most elite safety training and the most advanced technology, human error, mechanical failure, and countless unforeseen issues can cause a fall. With drone inspections for telecom towers, however, the need for another climb is eliminated.
Instead of climbing 2,000 feet into the air, technicians can safely operate a drone equipped with high-resolution imaging and video technology. This imaging can then be used as a diagnostic tool; it may not give all the answers, but it is certainly a start, and one less climb is one less risk.
The application of drone technology is limited only to human ingenuity, but current uses include hazard inspections, structural inspection, and moving tools and equipment from the ground to the top and back again, which is a difficult task that further enhances the risk of fatal accidents.
There is also the notion that because drones reduce the repetitive nature of climbing towers on a regular basis, they may also reduce the chances of carelessness. Theoretically, this could reduce the rate of accidents for every climb.
Currently, drones are incapable of handling the complex technical work required for tower maintenance and repairs. With time, however, it seems inevitable that drones will steadily become more and more capable of these tasks. Over the next decades, you will likely see airborne drones not just performing inspections, but actually performing necessary tasks like light replacements, line work, rigging, and antenna repair.
This inevitably means more feet on the ground and less time in the air. And if it results in one more worker coming home to their family after a long shift, it will all be worth the effort.
Since 1994, TCI Business Capital has provided invoice factoring solutions to telecom companies throughout North America. Instead of waiting to get paid, telecom factoring pays you same day on your invoices so you’re able to take advantage of the increasing demand in the industry.
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