DES MOINES, Iowa-- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is inspecting the KDSM television tower in Alleman to decide if any rules were broken after a tower technician fell to his death Wednesday morning.
The technician was a part of a two-man crew working for PCI Communications out of Oklahoma. He was around 1,000 feet in the air when he fell.
To put that in perspective, the tallest building in the state is only 45 stories tall. 801 Grand, also known as the Principal building is 630 feet tall. The television tower is more than three times that height.
Over the past decade OSHA hasn’t had a reason to inspect PCI Communications and there haven’t been any complaints filed against them. Now, OSHA has six months to inspect PCI Communications.
The tragedy is a reminder just how dangerous being a tower technician is.
“I feel very sorry for that family because I know how terrifying it is to have someone working in that industry and its just really sad to have something like that happen," Des Moines resident Heather Gilmore said. “That obviously makes me worry even more because I know how high he is off the ground."
Heather Gilmore's fiancé Chris is a tower technician. Chris climbs anywhere from 500 to 1,000 feet to make repairs. Gilmore says techs go through extensive training, for Chris it was a lengthy process.
“He had an apprenticeship program that's a yearlong, but they do a couple months worth where they have an actual tower on site that they practice on and do training with crews on," Gilmore said.
The names of the men involved haven't been released.
PCI Communications couldn’t comment but last we heard the owner of the company, Karen Kaymen, was headed to Iowa.
The National Association of Tower Erectors a South Dakota based nonprofit has a tower family foundation organization to give financial help to families.