May 11, 2017 —
The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) today unveiled a commemoration declaring Thursday, May 11, 2017 as Tower Technician Appreciation Day. This day has been set aside by NATE to coincide with OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down Week in order to pay tribute to the important work that tower technicians conduct on a daily basis to enable a mobile society.
NATE was joined by U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in honoring the work of the men and women who deploy and maintain America’s communications infrastructure.
“It’s a privilege to join NATE to congratulate and thank the dedicated men and women who work in South Dakota and around the country to build, upgrade, and maintain our nation’s communication towers and infrastructure,” said Senator Thune. “Tower erectors and technicians put in long hours and hard work, and they possess a unique set of skills that is essential to effectively deploy today’s wireless broadband network and lay the groundwork for the 5G network of the future.”
“Access to ubiquitous wireless coverage is paramount for the public safety, economic development and welfare of all Americans,” said NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “Today, NATE is honored to celebrate the communications tower industry workforce by highlighting the tireless contributions and sacrifices these men and women make in order to keep us safe, connected and prosperous.”
“This is a great day and we are thrilled to provide this well-deserved recognition to the industry’s most precious resource…the men and women who make up our workforce,” said NATE Chairman Jim Tracy, CEO of Legacy Telecommunications, Inc. in Burley, Washington.
May 4, 2017 —
News of tragedies has come in from the field with technicians dying in two separate in the tower construction incidents. They were the first fatalities of 2017, according to Wireless Estimator.
Isido Morales, 49, died and another worker was injured when a boom truck crane collapsed last week in downtown Dallas, according to the Dallas News. They had been working on a T-Mobile tower.
Earlier this week, a technician died from a 228-foot fall from a tower in Meridian, Mississippi, according to a report 16 WAPT News. He was reportedly wearing a safety harness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.
Runyon had been working for D&K Nationwide Communications of Bristol, Connecticut, Wireless Estimator reported, which was working as a subcontractor to turfing contractor MasTec on an AT&T LTE upgrade.
Event Planned Urging Industry to Discuss Safety
The deaths will certainly be a part of the conversation as the wireless industry takes part in the annual “National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction” approaching on May 8-12, which is a voluntary event for employers to talk to employees about safety sponsored by OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Center for Construction Research and Training and the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015, according the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) encourages tower services companies to set aside time during the week and plan a toolbox talk, take a break to talk about how to prevent falls and provide training for all workers.
“In past years, more than 1 million workers participated in events,” according to the NATE web site. “They have worked for public and private sector employees and small and large businesses and the event has recently expanded to include industries beyond construction.”
For more information on how to join in this year’s stand-down, access free training and education resources in English and Spanish, and receive a personalized certificate of participation, visit OSHA’s webpage at www.osha.gov.
May 2, 2017 —
Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) today announced a partnership, designed to bring new, exciting content to attendees of both CCA’s 2017 Annual Convention, taking place October 25-27 in Fort Worth, and NATE UNITE 2018, February 19-22 in Nashville. NATE will develop and sponsor a conference track at CCA’s event highlighting infrastructure innovators and opportunities, and CCA will host and sponsor a carrier track at NATE UNITE 2018 focusing on the most pressing wireless policy issues and industry trends.
CCA’s 2017 Annual Convention will celebrate the Association’s 25th anniversary – and feature extensive programming featuring technical, marketing, policy and business development opportunities for competitive carriers. NATE will sponsor and program a conference track, focused on the tower-site deployment activities associated with the post 600 MHZ Incentive Auction “Broadcast Repack” transition; enhancing safety and efficiency through the wireless infrastructure industry’s utilization of Unmanned Aerial Systems and other emerging technologies; and expanding the skills of the wireless workforce through opportunities involved with the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) nationwide certification programs.
“Competitive carriers are committed to bringing reliable mobile broadband services to everyone in North America and CCA events bring together more North American carrier executives than any other event,” said Steven K. Berry, CCA’s President and CEO. “Infrastructure is a key component of this endeavor, and CCA is delighted to partner with NATE for our fall event. The addition of a NATE-sponsored track, designed to bring together the carriers and tower executives who will drive policy changes in Washington and innovation in the field, is an exciting step in the continued evolution of our shows – and the industry.”
NATE UNITE 2018 will bring together senior decision makers in the communications tower industry. CCA will sponsor and program a half-day conference focused on regulatory issues and outline the ways the tower industry and mobile carriers can work together to drive a more competitive marketplace.
“This CCA-NATE event partnership is a win-win for the industry that will serve to unite key stakeholders from all layers of the wireless ecosystem to deliver informative and timely programming led by some of the industry’s most dynamic speakers and subject matter experts,” stated NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “NATE is thrilled to collaborate with CCA and their member companies on this dynamic partnership.”
On Thursday, May 2 at 11:00 a.m. EDT Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., former Secretary of Labor for OSHA, will be conducting a live NATE webinar entitled Effectively Handling an OSHA Inspection Under an Enforcement Driven OSHA.
OSHA has become much more aggressive about inspections and rule enforcement especially involving recent recordkeeping rule revisions and emphasis on temporary employees. The number of Federal OSHA inspections resulting in penalties in excess of $100,000 has been dramatically increasing over the past several years. This number continues to grow since OSHA penalties increased 78% on August 1, 2016. This comprehensive presentation will offer attendees an in-depth, practical examination of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the “Act”) and how it and the Secretary of Labor’s right to enforce the Act may potentially affect the inspected facility and the company’s business objectives.
This presentation will take attendees through the inspection process, including pre-inspection, opening conference, walk-around inspection, document production, employee interviews, closing conference, informal conference, appeals and hearings before the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (OSHRC). Attendees will be provided a step-by-step discussion of the legal and practical process implicated when OSHA arrives for an inspection, how to define the scope of the inspection, and how to effectively assert your legal rights when OSHA is being unreasonable. This presentation will provide attendees essential tips for what every manager should do while the inspection is being conducted and afterward to help achieve the best possible outcome. Finally, the presentation will examine how to assert your legal rights and the relationship of OSHA inspections to other regulatory and business responsibilities.
April 11, 2017 —
A National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) delegation consisting of Chairman Jim Tracy, Board of Directors member John Paul Jones, Executive Director Todd Schlekeway and Policy Director Jim Goldwater was in Washington, D.C. the week of April 3-7 for a series of Legislative & Regulatory meetings. The meetings in Washington, D.C. were timed to coincide with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s declaration of April 2017 as “Infrastructure Month”.
During the productive week, the NATE delegation conducted meetings on Capitol Hill, with various federal agencies and industry organizations. The meetings provided NATE’s leadership with an opportunity and platform to discuss the Association’s 2017 legislative and regulatory priorities.
Throughout the week, NATE officials highlighted the prominent role the Association’s member companies will be playing in the deployment of the FirstNet Public Safety Broadband Network, the post-Incentive Auction Broadcast “Repack” work on tall towers and the future build-out of 5G networks and related technologies. During the meetings, NATE also addressed the Association’s leadership role integrating Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into the communications tower industry, NATE’s efforts to seek changes to the onerous tower marking provisions contained in Section 2110 of the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 and promote the Association’s efforts to streamline small cell deployment in the United States.
During all of the meetings, NATE emphasized workforce safety and raised awareness on the valuable resources, standards and materials the Association has available to ensure that the coming spike in work is conducted safely and in a quality manner.
“As I reflect on NATE’s recent trip to D.C., it is evident to me that the nation’s capital needs the influence of NATE and its membership. The real life experiences of our members lend credibility to wireless and broadcast policy. Our conspicuous presence in the wireless ecosystem is quite secure,” stated Jim Tracy, NATE Chairman and CEO of Legacy Telecommunication, Inc. in Burley, Washington. “Rest assured, NATE will continue to relentlessly build relationships in Washington, D.C. in order to ensure that policies and regulations are taking into account the prosperity, safety and welfare of our member companies who are so vital to advancing the networks and connectivity of today and tomorrow,” added Tracy.