OSHA Report Details Why Fordland Communication Tower Collapsed

Nov 27, 2018

The communication tower in Fordland, shortly after it collapsed
Credit Megan Burke

A report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that contractors were to blame for the collapse of a nearly 1,900-foot communication tower in Fordland in April. One person was killed in the tower collapse.  KOZK, also known as Ozarks Public Television, broadcast its signal from the tower.

The report, issued in October, was obtained by the non-profit media publication, Current, through a Freedom of Information Act request. You can read the 63-page OSHA report here. The report says a plan created by Tower Consultants, Inc., referred to as TCI, for strengthening the tower was flawed.  TCI was contracted by tower owner, Missouri State University, to create the plan. 

Specifically, the report says TCI’s suggested procedure was flawed in that it compromised the effectiveness of the tower’s braces and the load bearing capacity of the tower legs.

Steve Lemay, a contractor from Washington State whose team was working on the tower, was killed when the structure fell.  Three other workers were injured.  The report also points to mistakes made by Lemay’s team, including using an undersized winch while removing diagonal braces.  Lemay was replacing diagonals at 105 feet on the tower when it collapsed.

KSMU Radio is under the same management as KOZK, and both stations are based on the Missouri State University campus.