This last year was steady for Shenandoah Tower Service. Not too rambunctious. There was enough work to keep everyone busy. As far as the industry was concerned, we took the time and achieved some traction in healing some self-inflicted wounds concerning how business is done, how people are trained and how we are held accountable. In the coming years, it should get better and bigger as we move forward improving training and certification. Safety should improve. Professionalism in the industry should improve.
In order to fully get there, the industry had to come to consensus and build a bridge between the different parties to further enhance mutual understanding and cooperation. The development of the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) to provide independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification in order to enhance training is a very positive move. It has momentum and TIRAP [Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program], which is a public-private partnership to develop apprenticeships and training for the telecom workforce, has momentum. Both of these organizations, their products and services, are being formed from scratch. It takes a lot of time. I am just grateful so many people are willing to volunteer their time to get it done.
Shenandoah Tower Service is engaged across the spectrum with local governments, carriers, utilities and tower companies. They all have a lot of work to do out there. There are still towers to be built and many others need to be modified. There are a lot of antennas to be installed and an increasing amount of backhaul work. Then there are the outliers, the broadcast industry re-pack, which will follow the broadcast spectrum incentive auction, and the beginning of the FirstNet deployment.
This should be a robust year in our industry and I can see that escalating in 2017, 2018 and 2019. I am just hoping we will have enough of the training, certification and re-thinking done to enhance the protection of the workforce before we begin these other endeavors.
One way to achieve that, beyond the training and certification efforts for the climber, is for every other industry discipline/entity to commit to doing all they can to ensure worker safety. My plea is for the carriers, tower owners, engineering firms, tower manufacturers, antenna manufacturers and turfing contractors to adopt a new method of operation; that is Prevention Through Design!
Let me remind you of what I consider the Seven Deadly Sins; all of which can be addressed with Prevention Through Design thinking:
• Safety as a mantra, but profits as the most important goal
• Hiring the wrong person or company to perform the scope of work
• Insufficient training of employees
• Failure of the competent person
• Design flaws creating unsafe conditions
• Compromised climber access/climbing facilities
• Climbers seen as machines, not people
People should not be treated as machines. There is no reason to build out any of these new networks without minimizing the risk to tower climbing personnel.
Dave Anthony is the CEO of Shenandoah Tower Service, based in Staunton, Virginia.
(Fairfax, Virginia) – The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) announced today the official introduction to the wireless industry of CCO Rigger and Signalperson Certification programs. The programs have the distinction of becoming the first two assessment and certification offerings available to the wireless industry’s workforce through the NWSA.
The CCO Rigger and Signalperson certification programs are offered through a partnership with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). The nationally recognized and internationally accredited certification programs are the culmination of many years of hard work by NCCCO and experts from the various industries and groups that use rigging and cranes; including construction, steel erection, ironworkers, operating engineers, utilities, petrochemicals, specialty rigging companies and sling manufacturers.
“The formal introduction of the CCO Rigger and Signalperson certification programs represents a significant milestone for the organization,” said NWSA Board of Governors Chairman Art Pregler from AT&T. “For the first time, workers in the wireless industry will be able to obtain nationally recognized and ANSI accredited certification through the NWSA,” added Pregler.
The Rigger program will include certification offerings for both a Rigger Level I category and a Rigger Level II category. A certified rigger is a person trained and certified to handle rigging equipment to lift and move loads. The level of certification depends upon the individual’s training, knowledge, skill base, and ability to perform functions related to the selection, inspection, and proper use of rigging equipment. The Signalperson certification program is designed for signalpersons who are trained and who will use hand and voice signals in crane operation.
In order to obtain the Rigger and Signalperson certifications, candidates must achieve a passing score on both a computer-based testing (CBT) written examination and a field-based practical examination that is administered by a NCCCO authorized practical examiner. The computer-based tests are administered via computer at approximately 300 test centers located throughout the nation.
“NCCCO is proud to partner with the NWSA in order to offer co-branded certifications for our nationally recognized and internationally accredited CCO Rigger and Signalperson programs, “ stated NCCCO’s Director of Operations and Program Development, Joel Oliva. “Many subject matter experts affiliated with NCCCO have devoted thousands of hours to ensure the validity, reliability and continued integrity of the Rigger and Signalperson certification programs,” emphasized Oliva.
The NWSA is a national non-profit assessment and certification organization that has been established to provide thorough, independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety, reduce workplace risk, improve quality, encourage training, and recognize the skilled professionals who work on towers and other non-standard structures. The organization is the result of collaborative efforts between a broad coalition of the industry’s leading subject matter experts, companies and stakeholders representing wireless carriers, tower owners, OEM’s, turnkey management firms, small contractors, tower technicians and industry associations.
Industry workers, companies and stakeholders are encouraged to visit the NWSA website today at www.nws-a.org to obtain more information on the certification programs and begin the process of registering for the Rigger and Signalperson computer-based and practical exams.
PRESS RELEASE — The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) convened a distinguished group of the industry’s leading subject matter experts in Dallas, Texas to begin the test development process for the Telecommunications Tower Technician I (TTTI) and Telecommunications Tower Technician II (TTTII) certification programs.
The NWSA is a national non-profit assessment and certification organization that has been established to provide thorough, independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety, reduce workplace risk, improve quality, encourage training, and recognize the skilled professionals who work on towers and other non-standard structures.
During the meetings in Dallas, the select group of subject matter experts established a Telecommunications Tower Technician Task Force to formalize their test development efforts moving forward.
“The NWSA took another giant step forward today with the establishment of the Telecommunications Tower Technician Test Development Task Force,” said NWSA Board of Governors Chairman Art Pregler from AT&T. “The organization will be able to lean heavily on this experienced group of subject matter experts in order to develop the NWSA’s knowledge-based computer exams and the field-based practical exams for the TTTI and TTTII certification programs,” Pregler added.
The NWSA also announced that industry veteran and leading subject matter expert Don Doty from FDH Velocitel has been selected to be the presiding Chairman of the task force. “The psychometric and test development work of the task force is integral to ensure that the NWSA’s respective certification programs adhere to the roadmap that is required to achieve ANSI ISO 17024 accreditation,” emphasized Don Doty, who also serves on the NWSA’s Board of Governors. “I am honored to serve in this capacity and am committed to ensuring that reliable, valid and legally defensible assessments are developed through our task force’s collective efforts,” added Doty.
The NWSA organization is the result of collaborative efforts between a broad coalition of the industry’s leading subject matter experts, companies and stakeholders representing wireless carriers, tower owners, OEM’s, turnkey management firms, government agencies, public safety entities, small contractors, tower technicians and industry associations. Industry leaders have pledged to provide timely and relevant updates to the industry as key benchmarks are achieved in the establishment of the NWSA’s national assessment and certification programs.
August 20, 2015 — The National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) has named Art Pregler, director of national cell site programs at AT&T, as the chairman of its board of governors. Phil Larsen, president of telecom services at HAZON Solutions, will serve as the vice chairman of the organization. The board, which consists of 28 representatives from a cross-section of the industry, will develop policy and oversee the various NWSA committees.
Pregler and Larsen were nominated and elected by the board of governors during the inaugural NWSA meeting on August 12 in Denver, Colorado.
“We have reached an important point in our industry’s evolution where our wireless technologies and networks have advanced to a high level of sophistication and capability,” Pregler said. “Our elevated workers deserve the right to likewise expect and experience the benefits of a more capable and considered workforce paradigm.”
NWSA is a national non-profit organization that is under development to provide independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provide verifiable worker certification of skilled professionals who work on towers and other non-standard structures.
“Through the NWSA, we can formally acknowledge the demonstrated professional competence of our workforce by means of assessment, certification and credentialing of the comprehensive skills required by the many diverse technical positions in our industry,” Pregler said.