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There is a great effort in its second year, put together by the FCC and DOL to align safety nationwide in the tower industry. They have collaborated to create TIRAP, an apprenticeship training program similar to what unions and utilities use in other industries. The next meeting will be Feb 11, 2016 at FCC Headquarters. I plan to be there. They are going to align the communications industry with the workforce rules, meaning that the FCC knows the tower industry and the DOL has OSHA who knows safety. The 2 departments of the US government are aligned to create a model for safety in the USA. One that we should be proud of. I believe that collaboration is the key and that OSHA doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. They are trying to align their rules with the tower work that needs to be done.
It is never a good year for the tower industry when we lose even one climber, and this year we lost several, including Ernie Jones who did more for the tower industry than almost anyone.
So this was a bad year but the losses were lower, and what is the theme? Pay attention! We lost a few veterans and someone new who if the people training here would have been paying attention they would have had her on a rope grab. This was a tough year even though the losses were less than previous years. Any lost life in the industry is terrible.
So how can we help each other out? By working as partners! We give each other grief when the other screws up, so make sure that you have someone watching over you and pointing out your mistakes. Be proactive! This is why the boy scouts have the buddy system, for support and to keep each other in line. Don’t think it will happen to you? That’s what Ernie. A seasoned veteran who got distracted just for a minute because he was busy. We really should be working in pairs as partners.
We also have NATE who created the NWSA to create a standardized certification program. While there isn’t much available yet for the climber there are rigging certifications from the crane industry that are paving the way for climbing certifications. This is quite an undertaking for this group. They have been trying to get more and more out there for the climbing technician.
If an accident happens, there is support for the injured workers and their families. There is support for the families of the fallen climbers. We have the Hubble Foundation and the Tower Family Foundation who do all that they can to support the victims of these horrendous accidents. They don’t ask too many questions but they are available to support whoever it would be, the families or the injured. Once someone has a detrimental accident chances are good they will never work the same again. If they are fallen then their families will never truly recover, but they need financial aid, which both groups do, because the banks don’t really care why the families can’t pay their bills. These financial problems can snowball as families have to pay for medical bills. It’s even worse when they have to pay the funeral bill. I see the fundraisers on GoFundMe.com when families need help.
So what can you do? If you are in the industry you can do several things. First, be safe and pay attention by looking out for yourself and your workmates, don’t’ let your smartphone distract you when climbing or driving. Second, give to the charity of your choice on the websites for the TFF or Hubble. Finally, let’s support the FCC and DOL as they come together to promote safety for the wireless worker at tower sites.
And now, some notes and history, helpful and reminders.
- Money is an issue in the tower climber business. Most companies are small because they have trouble keeping work, money is a very important issue in this business and when people don’t get paid it ripples down to safety. The turf model of hiring contractors needs to be better regulated, in my opinion. Everyone will talk but not if they have to go public. https://wade4wireless.com/2015/09/16/tower-climbers-real-1-problem/
- I came up with an idea for end to end safety with the safety audit. https://wade4wireless.com/2015/05/29/end-to-end-safety-the-site-safety-audit/
- Plan for saving lives –https://wade4wireless.com/2014/03/12/follow-my-plan-and-save-tower-climbers-lives/
- Here were my OSHA RFQ https://wade4wireless.com/2015/04/22/osha-rfi-questions-for-tower-climbers/
- I did a post on whether the tower industry could police itself. https://wade4wireless.com/2015/01/07/will-the-tower-industry-police-itself/
- I got many comments from climber that responded to the industry policing itself.
- Ideas for proving that you have the proper certifications that are not out of date – https://wade4wireless.com/2015/11/05/prove-youre-certified/
- Responsibility poll https://wade4wireless.com/2013/12/26/responsibility-poll-results/
- I got the firsthand update on Ernie Jones. https://wade4wireless.com/2015/11/16/what-happened-to-ernie/
- Are schedules killing the workers?https://wade4wireless.com/2014/11/18/are-work-schedules-killing-the-wireless-field-worker-yes/
- Are tower injuries the price of doing business?https://wade4wireless.com/2014/11/09/tower-injuries-is-this-the-price-of-doing-business/
- RF is a hazard
- Let’s not forget the hazard of ticks
- Drugs in the industry https://wade4wireless.com/2014/08/27/drugs-morons-and-steel/
- Climber’s gear https://wade4wireless.com/2013/12/01/wireless-field-worker-how-is-your-gear/
- There are many unsafe towers out there so we have an unofficial unsafe towers database, but even this is causing problems because owners are angry about the list. However, let me tell you, American Tower and Crown appreciate being told about tower problems and they are very quick to address them. https://wade4wireless.com/2014/09/13/report-the-unsafe-towers-in-a-public-database/
Tower climber risks:
Injured Tower climber Support
My IWCE presentation on YouTube about Tower Climber Safety. If you want the PowerPoint slides, just ask. I presented this in early 2015 at IWCE.
That’s all for this week, be smart, be safe, and pay attention.
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Give to the Hubble Foundation because if you don’t help these families, who will? Who supports Hubble? The wireless workers and the tower climbers, that’s who! With no support from the carriers or NATE, so it’s up to you! What if it were you? Would you want help? Who would help you if you were hurt? Who would help your family, your spouse, your children if something happened to you? Do you see the people who are hurt?