Category Archives: Safety

NATE Announces 2018 Rigger Awareness Training Dates and Locations

The National Association of Tower Erectors has announced the dates and locations for the 2018 Rigger Awareness Training Courses. Rigger awareness training courses will be hosted nationwide in 2018 and will be offered free of charge to attendees due to a Susan Harwood Training Grant (SH-31235-SH7) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.

Throughout 2018, NATE is planning to host these complimentary, grant-enabled training sessions in Hartford, Connecticut; Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; Eagan, Minnesota; Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; Malvern, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; Detroit, Michigan; Lakewood, Colorado and Irving, Texas. SEE DATES BELOW

The industry-specific Rigger Awareness Course curriculum will be focused on introducing workers and employers to rigging terminology, rigging equipment and proper use, rigging inspections, rigging related hazards, crane signals and industry reference materials/standards. The training is organized into six sections that include the following subject topics:

Section 1: Introduction to NATE and OSHA
Section 2: State of the Industry
Section 3: Construction Planning, Stakeholders and Resources
Section 4: Anatomy of a Rigging Plan
Section 5: Lift Systems, Forces and Equipment Components
Section 6: Executing the Rigging Plan

The training will also include information regarding employee and employer rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act of 1970, whistleblower complaint procedures and protection provisions.

“Rigging is an essential element of communication tower work, yet deficiencies still exist when it comes to the use of proper rigging procedures at tower sites,” stated NATE Curriculum Development Committee Member Richard Cullum from Crown Castle. “The Rigger Awareness Training Program presents a practical application of the rigging requirements that we believe will have a significant positive impact on worker safety and quality,” added Cullum.

“I would encourage all industry employees and employers interested in participating in the Rigger Awareness Training sessions to register soon as interest in the program is in high demand,” said NATE Curriculum Development Committee Member Justin Huggins from Enertech Resources, LLC.

Interested participants should complete the accompanying Rigger Awareness registration forms for the training location in their region on the Association’s 2018 Worker Training Course website page.


Rigger Awareness Training Course
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST
Marriott Hartford/Windsor Airport
28 Day Hill Road
Windsor, Connecticut 06095
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Monday, February 19, 2018
10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CST
Gaylord Opryland Resort
2800 Opryland Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Thursday, March 22, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CST
Vertical Limit Construction
915 Blue Gentian Road
Eagan, Minnesota 55121
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PST
J.W. Marriott at LA Live
900 West Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90015
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. PST
Sheraton Portland Airport
8235 NE Airport Way
Portland, Oregon 97220
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Thursday, May 10, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST
Penn State Great Valley
30 E Swedesford Road
Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST
Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte Uptown
508 E MLK Jr Blvd
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
June 2018
Orlando, Florida
Registration Information Coming Soon
Rigger Awareness Training Course
July 2018
Louisville, Kentucky
Registration Information Coming Soon
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Thursday, August 16, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
400 Renaissance Drive
Detroit, Michigan 48243
Registration Open
Rigger Awareness Training Course
Thursday, August 23, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. MST
Holiday Inn Lakewood
7390 W Hampden Ave
Lakewood, Colorado 80227Registration Open

Rigger Awareness Training Course

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CST
Double Tree DFW Airport North
4441 W John Carpenter Freeway
Irving, TX 75063Registration Open

TIRAP Implementation: A Must for Forward-thinking Wireless Companies

By Nick Grull

The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program is helping to alleviate a shortage of technicians trained to climb telecommunications towers while raising the level of safety training. The program combines classroom learning with hands-on training in the field.

If you live in Colorado as I do, you’d better love snow. It’s beautiful in the mountains, but not so much fun on the roads.

Actually, the snow on the roads isn’t the problem. It’s the other drivers, because even in a state as snowy as Colorado, remarkably few people know how to drive properly and safely when the road conditions are less than ideal. Some people were clearly taught well, and they stand out from the crowd of drivers causing chaos on the roads. But not everyone had good training, and their habits affect everyone on the roads. The world would be a better place if everyone learned how to properly drive in the snow — fewer accidents, better traffic flow and much less frustration. But unfortunately in every state that sees snow, Colorado included, the difference in winter driving training varies dramatically. Imagine for a second what it would be like if every person in your state could drive the right way.

This brings me to the topic at hand. Training programs for new professionals in the wireless industry vary as much from one organization to the next as winter driving abilities vary among drivers. Inconsistency in professional training undermines safety for workers in the wireless infrastructure business. For every employer, it also places an obstacle in the way of productivity and impedes industry growth. Many statistics reveal a current shortage of technicians in the workforce that serves the wireless communications business; thus, effectively and efficiently training new entrants to the industry serves an important objective and will only become more important in the months and years ahead.

The discrepancies in training from one organization to another make an inherently dangerous job even more dangerous. Anyone who manages tower crews or who is responsible for safety protocols in the industry knows first-hand how two workers with the same amount of time on the job can have radically different levels of safety training and skills development. For example, if one technician started his career at a small wireless shop with just a few employees, that employee may have received little or no formal training. More often than not, he learned on the job in an ad hoc way, and the quality of training depended on whether the supervisor was a good teacher who went above and beyond with mentoring. In contrast, a technician at a larger company with more resources might go through a highly formal training process that would put the new technician miles ahead of his counterparts. As safety manager, I have put a lot of time and energy into creating a training program that sets the bar high, but it’s important to point out that even among larger companies, training programs can differ dramatically.

This situation does not serve employees or wireless companies well. It is a lose-lose proposition for a number of reasons. For entry-level technicians, the safety training they receive and the head start they get on key skills development is completely hit or miss, leaving too many workers far behind their peers at other companies. That not only puts them in unnecessary danger on the job, but also holds them back in their careers. Having moved up the professional ladder myself and having trained as many people as I have, I have learned how important the right skills are for both safety and career growth. For employers, the lack of consistency has a significant effect on productivity, becoming a pain point on a daily basis. The skillsets of two employees that, on paper, look identical can be dramatically different. And teams composed of workers with significant training differences can slow projects to a crawl while also creating safety vulnerabilities.

The safety of workers and the rapid growth of the wireless industry require a new approach to training that creates consistency across every company in the industry. The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) does exactly that. The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), the U.S. Department of Labor and multiple telecommunications companies jointly developed TIRAP. Participating in the development of the TIRAP program has been one of the most important efforts in my career, and I believe that it will enable companies of every size in the wireless industry to provide employees with uniform training that makes them safer and more productive, and that supports companies’ bottom lines.

One thing that makes this program so strong is the way it combines classroom learning with hands-on training in the field — a combination that Centerline Solutions has used with great success in our own training. TIRAP is designed to create uniform training for each of the roles through which workers may progress during the first few years of their careers:

·      Tower Technician

·      Wireless Technician

·      Tower & Antenna Lead

·      Tower & Antenna Line Foreman

·      Tower Construction Lead

·      Tower Construction Foreman

·      Maintenance and Condition Assessment Lead

·      Maintenance and Condition Assessment Foreman

Companies that enroll in TIRAP receive extensive resources and support from the U.S. Department of Labor to help facilitate the training program and support employees. The support that participating companies receive includes a clear set of standards for the apprenticeship program, which give both employees and employers measurable goals, an easily implementable framework for operation of the program, and designated training materials and resources for each role for which a growing professional is training. In addition, a dedicated Department of Labor representative is assigned as a liaison for each participating company, providing ongoing support in implementing the program, which can be delivered in-house or via a community college.

I can speak to the ease of implementing TIRAP because I am taking the lead on rolling out  TIRAP-based training that will span the organization here at Centerline Solutions. We have immediately rolled it out to all of our operations centers, with more than 100 employees already enrolled. We will also have all new technicians at the company participate in TIRAP as a standard part of their new-hire training. TIRAP is designed to be easy to implement as an extension of existing company training programs.

Centerline Solutions is not alone in embracing this program. TIRAP already has reached a 1,000-person milestone for professionals enrolled in TIRAP training. This is a great start, but it is just the beginning.

Employees and employers both benefit from having this program placed into their companies. New technicians are trained through a consistent program, ensuring they will learn the vital skills necessary to help them follow safety protocols on the job and advance their careers. With these skills, qualifications will be completely clear and technicians will be safer. The prescribed training program certifies employers will know exactly what they are getting when they hire someone who has worked elsewhere. Employers have a clear road map with TIRAP for how to train new and existing employees so that they are productive and safe. This program ensures that everyone is on the same page and workers have skillsets and head starts to their career that are uniform, fair and safe.

If your company has not yet looked at the TIRAP program and has not yet begun a discussion about how it can complement your professional training, I encourage you to visit the TIRAP website and learn more about the program. Interested companies can obtain more information by contacting TIRAP’s Deb Bennett at And for a more in-depth example of how TIRAP is being implemented, check out the profile of Centerline Solutions’ TIRAP deployment at

Nick Grull has been a part of the Centerline Solutions team for nearly a decade. As safety manager, he has helped develop one of the wireless industry’s leading tower safety programs. His email address is

NATE Highlights Remote Tower Access

By The Editors of AGL

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) has released a video on the topic of operating snow tracked vehicles to access tower sites in remote locations. The video, the latest to make its debut as part of Volume 2 of the NATE Climber Connection series, is designed to emphasize the exciting opportunities available in the industry for those workers who pursue a career as a tower technician. The video series is an integral component of the Association’s workforce development outreach to promote the profession and recruit new workers into the industry.

As the weather turns and snowfall is prevalent in certain regions of the country, the Remote Tower Access video provides a detailed overview on the planning practices, safety protocols and operational procedures associated with utilizing a snow tracked vehicle in difficult terrain environments and during inclement weather situations.

The video also includes real-time conversations between vehicle operators and tower technicians about the hazards that can exist when utilizing snowcat vehicles to access tower sites. Additionally, the video includes drone footage of snow tracked vehicles ascending the Cascade Mountains in Washington State on a snowy day.

“I love this video as it portrays the reality of some of the remote tower sites we work at,” said Matt Uhrich, Compliance and Safety Director at Legacy Telecommunications, Inc. in Burley, Washington.

“Seeing a snowcat vehicle ascend a snowy mountaintop is an awesome part of the job and this video reinforces that fact along with providing important planning and operational safety tips,” added Mat Johnson from Legacy Telecommunications, Inc.     “We are fortunate to work in such a dynamic profession.”

Click HERE to watch the Remote Tower Access safety video. NATE encourages tower climbers and all wireless and broadcast industry stakeholders to actively participate in this campaign by posting the Remote Tower Access video on their respective social networking platforms using the hashtag #ClimberConnection. NATE also encourages tower climbers to share their snow tracked vehicle operation and safety tips through social interaction on the Association’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Climber Connection Volume 2 campaign was developed by the NATE Member Services Committee in conjunction with the NATE Safety & Education Committee and is designed to provide specific resources and communicate the Association’s message directly to the industry’s elevated workforce.

Visit HERE to access the A10.48 Standard, Broadcast Repack, UAS Operations, Riding the Line, Dig to Block Anchor Inspection and Stadium DAS videos that were previously released as part of the Volume 2 edition of the Climber Connection video series. For more information on NATE, visit today.

NATE Wireless Industry Network to Host Atlantic Coast Regional Conference

By The Editors of AGL

The NATE WIN Atlantic Coast Regional Conference will be held on Nov. 2 at the Marriott Raleigh City Center, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The conference will focus on key industry safety initiatives and offer tremendous networking and professional development opportunities for attendees.

“This event will offer great educational and networking opportunities as speakers from all facets of the wireless ecosystem will present programs on cutting edge topics,” stated WIN Director Scott Krouse.

NATE members and non-members alike are encouraged to attend this conference.  The cost to attend the Atlantic Coast Regional Conference is $75 per person which includes a continental breakfast as well as lunch. Interested attendees are encouraged to register by completing the Registration Form on the WIN website ( All completed registration forms and payments should be emailed to or mailed to the NATE office (8 Second Street SE, Watertown, SD 52701) by the registration deadline of Friday, October 20, 2017.

Reserve your room at the Marriott Raleigh City Center before Tuesday, October 17, 2017 to receive the special group rate of $184 + tax. The group rate is only valid for Wednesday, November 1. You can make your reservation online by visiting HERE. Reservations can be made over the phone by calling 919-227-3893 and referencing the NATE WIN Atlantic Coast Regional Conference. Reservations must be made by COB Tuesday, October 17, 2017 to receive the discounted rate.

Sponsorship opportunities are available as well. CLICK HERE to become a sponsor for the NATE WIN Atlantic Coast Regional Conference!

For more information on NATE, NATE WIN and the Atlantic Coast Regional Conference, visit or

Tragedy Strikes Tower Crew Near Miami

By J. Sharpe Smith

The nascent TV Repack was struck by tragedy yesterday as three workers fell to their deaths in Miami Gardens, Florida. The workers were near the top of the 1,250-foot TV tower, which transmits the signal for Local 10 and WSVN, when the gin pole they were using collapsed.

Local 10 News reported that the workers were “removing gear at the top of the tower to install the transmission antenna” when the accident occurred.

WSVN-TV owner and president Edmund Ansin released a statement that reads, “We are saddened by this tragic event. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the three men who died. They worked for a company hired by Channel 7 to perform work on the tower that was required by the FCC.”

The three men, whose names have not been released, were employees of Texas-based Tower King II.  After receiving numerous erroneous calls about the accident, Grant Phillips, president of a different company, TowerKing, released a statement.

“We at Towerking in Defiance, Ohio are saddened to learn of the unfortunate events that occurred in our industry today near Miami, Florida. We extend our condolences to the friends and family of the people involved in today’s accident. Towerking2, the Texas-based company whose employees were involved in the accident, has no affiliation with our company in any way. We will keep those affected by this tragedy in our prayers,” Phillips said.

The tower, which was completed and began digital transmission in 2009, was receiving a new antenna as part of the TV repack, resulting from the broadcast incentive auction where wireless companies acquired 600 MHz frequencies and broadcasters are moved to other spectrum.

Broadcasters, who have argued that the 39-month window for transitioning to new spectrum was to short, may use the incident to ask the FCC for more time.

The deaths bring the total of industry fatalities to five in 2017, according to Wireless Estimator.

J. Sharpe Smith is senior editor of the AGL eDigest. He joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.