Live Chat Wednesday 1 p.m. ET: Who’s Responsible for Cell Tower Deaths?


May 22, 2012

Over the last decade, the tower climbers who are building and servicing America’s rapidly growing cellular infrastructure have been dying on the job at an alarming rate. — roughly 10 times that of construction workers.

The giant cell phone carriers’ connection to tower-climbing deaths has remained invisible. Some have outsourced this dangerous work to smaller subcontracting companies, shielding themselves from liability when something goes wrong.

So is anyone being held responsible? What’s the best way to make the industry safer? And what about the role of the workers — what is it actually like to do this work, and why do tower climbers take such risks?

We’ve asked two of the film’s reporters, FRONTLINE’s Ryan Knutson and ProPublica’s Liz Day, as well as former tower climber Wally Reardon, project manager for the Tower Climber Protection project, to discuss these questions and take yours.

They’ll also be joined by guest questioner Ben Drawbaugh, a reporter and editor at Engadget covering consumer electronics.

You can leave a question in the chat window below, and come by at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 23rd to join the live discussion.

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

What Is a Safety-Net Hospital and Why Is It So Hard to Define?
To begin to understand what qualifies as a safety net and how the lack of a common definition could impact patient care, FRONTLINE spoke to experts in public health, medicine and hospital administration.
May 18, 2021
Hospitals Serving The Poor Struggled During COVID. Wealthy Hospitals Made Millions.
This past year America's more than 300 safety-net hospitals found themselves on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affected the communities safety-net hospitals are most likely to serve.
May 18, 2021
Why Safety-Net Hospitals Serving Low-Income People May Be “On the Brink of a Precipice”
'The Healthcare Divide,' a new documentary from FRONTLINE and NPR, explores the growing inequities in American healthcare exposed by COVID-19.
May 18, 2021
Minneapolis drug case falls apart, raising questions about existence of secret informant
The case exposes the inherent conflict at the heart of confidential informants as a tool in American policing. In order to be effective, informants must be shrouded in secrecy. But that secrecy can make it impossible to tell how effective informants really are.
May 15, 2021