Tag Archives: tower safety

OSHA & FCC Best Tower Climbing Practices

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That’s right, the FCC and OSHA DOL have teamed up to use their superpowers for the good of the tower climber. These are two of the most influential divisions of government on American business, the world really, that worked hard to provide a safety guideline for an industry where people die every year. They knew there were issues that need to be addressed and they acted.

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Did they do it alone? NO! They asked the tower industry, held workshops, and released the RFI  for the tower climbers to fill out, anonymously if needed. You all had a say. If you didn’t participate, then you may not have been in the industry, or you didn’t make the time to participate in this momentous event. That’s right, OSHA reached out to the field workers for help. Hey, if you did nothing, then you probably don’t expect anything.

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I am proud to say that I not only participated, but I went to the workshop at the FCC office in DC. I took a day of my time, drove several hours, completed the survey, I did all that I could to help. What did you do? All the people at the conference were very supportive of the initiative. There were many vendors, company owners, carriers, and groups like NATE and the Hubble Foundation and the Tower Family Foundation. The workshop information can be found here. This happened back in 2014, so it took a lot of time to make it happen. Yes, I was blogging then, and I had been trying to help more climbers back then.

One more thing, I think we should all thank the participants of OSHA and FCC who worked diligently to create this and try to raise awareness of the tangled web of climber’s safety.

I don’t climb anymore. I do more engineering, sales, and planning work. I consult, and I write books, and I teach. I coach. So, I am not currently active in the climbing industry other than I bid work, I am still active and keep in touch with the climbing industry. I knew I had to move on, but I still have a passion for this industry. While it’s not as active as it once was, it’s still a critical part of the communications industry. I only did it for 10 years or so, but I really did enjoy it. I learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. I also learned that it was a completely different lifestyle. A job and a lifestyle that takes some adjustment, one where your life could end any day you go up in the air. I worked with some of the best people I ever met and some of the worst people I ever met. It is an amazing industry.

There is one thing that we all agree on is that it’s not as profitable as it used to be.  The carrier specifically made it a commodity. This means that the experienced climbers are leaving the industry by retirement or just looking for new opportunities. It didn’t seem to matter much because there are plenty of new, inexperienced recruits willing to put their lives on the line so that you can use Tinder on your smartphone, isn’t great how far technology has come?

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Therefore, the FCC and OSHA knew they must get involved, they wanted to save lives, and the best way to do that is by prevention. If they fine a company, it’s too late, the person is usually dead. The aim of this is to make the job as safe as it can be so that we prevent death. I hear about the lawsuits and how people get screwed and get hurt, and some people will never recover. I have also seen people try to scam the charities and industry. Like I said, some of the best and some of the worst people. I think it’s sad that people try to cheat charities, but it happens.

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OK, back to the subject at hand, the guidelines. They can be found below:

You can download the best practices document.

First, I want to thank the people at the FCC and OSHA that made this happen. Commissioner Wheeler helped to get the ball rolling, but Commissioner Pai has done a great job of keeping the ball rolling, twitter @AjitPaiFCC if you want to tweet him and tell him what a great job he’s done. Many people participated in the workshop and worked all the way to the end. I know that I was contacted personally by Jessica Douma of OSHA and Michael Janson of the FCC. They really worked hard to see this project all the way to the end. It was no quick or easy process. It takes a team, as I listed below.

Let’s all thank the following:

  • Claire Wack, Attorney Advisor, CIPD, WTB, FCC
  • Jessica Douma, Regulatory Analyst, OSHA
  • Michael Janson, Associate Chief, CIPD, WTB, FCC
  • Erin Patterson, Regulatory Analyst, OSHA
  • Joseph Jenkins, Team Leader, Marketing and Outreach, Office of Apprenticeship, ETA
  • Matthew Warner, Attorney Advisor, CIPD, WTB, FCC

When you read the document, you will see it’s broken down into the following parts.

  • Introduction and Background
    • This is obvious, right?
  • General Topics
    • Here they copy general programs that the FCC and OSHA have for the tower climbing industry.
    • An overview of Safety and health programs and contracting practices.
    • An overview of verification of subcontractors.
  • Tower Climbers and Ground Crew Employees
    • This is on the front line!
    • This goes into how each group or participant in the tower work is responsible for defining and following safe practices. From the climber to the crew, covering contractors and crew member at the site or preparing to go to the site. General safety recommendations.
  • Carriers and Tower Owners
    • This section covers how the tower owners should not only vet the contractors but have reporting procedures in place to report incidents. Have the processes and protocols in place. Manage complaints properly, log them and attend to them.
    • They also cover audits, training, and record keeping. Carriers and tower owners are being asked to participate these practices. This spreads it across the industry. Communication is the key.
    • Carriers are asked to provide realistic timelines for deployments. Think about the resources and set up a timeline that makes sense for that project. (Someone’s life depends on it!)
    • Tower owners are asked to inspect their tower, provide anchor points where needed, and update leases to mandate safe installation procedures that do not impede anchor points. They need to meet standard TIA-222-G, have a way to report unsafe conditions easily, allow drones to do more work, and ask for photos of their tower from the contractors working there. Keep a record of what you get!
  • Turfing Vendors
    • First, my opinion – These guys need to be mentioned here because they throw the most climbers all over the place. AT&T has done a great job using turf vendors then laying all the blame on them. They were the scapegoat that AT&T was being investigated for all the deaths that occurred years Wireless Estimator has a good record of climbing deaths by year here.
    • This covers training, job specific training, vetting contractors, and outlines ow they should work with contractors.
    • They cover communication, reporting, incident investigation. Yes, the turf vendor has a serious responsibility to investigate any incidents or unsafe practices. You need to identify SMEs, (Subject Matter Experts), that can help you do this. When I say SME, I mean someone who really knows what they are doing and they have been doing it for years, not the senior guy on a new crew. We here to save lives people!
    • Communicate openly, provide ways to communicate up and down the chain! Have procedures and processes in place so it’s clear how everyone should work, be trained, and report problems and incidents.
    • Work site safety practice, this should be defined clearly.
  • Tower Construction and Maintenance Contractors
    • Here is the front line, again, only the big dogs, or should I say the big tower dawgs? They started with the front line, and they’re ending with the front line.
    • Auditing and incident investigations are outlined. While most of you may have this in place, it’s always a good idea to update and see what has changed.
    • Outline your work site and safety practices, tailgate meetings, cover safety but don’t become so redundant that it’s blown off. Keep it original and interesting. That takes research and work. Review the JHA, keep it onsite, and update it as needed.
    • Record keeping and communication. Do I need to say more? Records of employee training and certifications so that they are available to all parties involved.
    • Training – again, train all worksite employees, not just the climbers. Right?
  • For additional information, here are some sites that may help:

There you go. The FCC and DOL did the best they could to outline this. Tower worker safety seems to be improving in the industry. It pays to be educated and updated.

If you’re interested in what industry leaders are saying, Wireless Estimator does a great job of putting together the voices of the industry at http://wirelessestimator.com/articles/2017/industry-applauds-osha-fccs-long-awaited-communication-tower-best-practices-guide/.

NATE also had good things to say at https://natehome.com/safety-education/osha-fcc-communication-tower-best-practices/ where they also have praise.

Jeff Williams posted a detailed letter at https://blog.npstc.org/2017/06/02/fcc-osha-offer-tower-safety-guidelines/ which summed it up very well.

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Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

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Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

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Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

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Tower Safety & Instruction

Tower Safety graduates could get a tablet with all of my books on it!

Find out more below. 

Tower Safety and Instruction, how often do you hear that as a sales pitch? Well, you know you need it to work in this industry. Even with NATE pushing NWSA certification at you, with the help of AT&T, you know that your climbers need to be trained. My sponsor, Tower Safety, (480-313-0678) is more than just someone who helps me out! They are an Arizona accredited school, which is more than most schools can say. They are approved by the state as a real school in Arizona. Yes, not a fly by Night Company but a certified school that is also currently a member of NATE. I don’t know how much longer that will last because NATE is making it clear that the schools are not as important as the NWSA certification is, but I am getting off point.

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Tower Safety is going to train you for all you need to get started in tower training. If you are getting out of the military then you can get some help here. They can help you get the help you need to get trained properly and be prepared for you new career. This is something that all tower site workers need. Not only the tower training and rescue that goes without saying, but also the OSHA 10 hour and the First Aid and CPR training.

Crane guys hanging around

Tower Safety has the facility to train you at their location, although they will come to you. They have just added 2 antenna booms for you to train on. How cool is that? They have a 150’ tower crane to let you practice on, again, really cool! This is the place to be for the training. They are co-located with a crane training facility so if you want to coordinate the training, it may be an option.

Don’t settle for less than the best, get what you need and get a well-rounded education. Remember, this is going to be your career, not your hobby. Do it right the first time!

They offer rigging class, capstan training, and ropes training by a rescue veteran that has instructed people around the world. Someone well-rounded who trains in mountain rescue, confined space, even water rescue. Someone who has trained lineman can help. This is someone you can count on for training and a few good stories.

Tower Safety isn’t going to stop or slow down, oh no! They are adding drone training because that will be a major part of inspections and the close out packages for the future, more on that below. They also are adding a crane rescue course.

The other thing that most training companies miss for the tower climber is the fiber skills. This is something that is coming to Tower Safety because they know that the carriers require fiber skills.

You see, Tower Safety understand the needs of the tower worker., It’s not just tower work you’re doing anymore, fiber work, rigging, climbing, safety, first aid, CPR, and everything needed to make sure that you can do your job and be prepared to save someone when necessary.

The training covered by Tower Safety is all about safety and doing the job right. Education is more than just reading. When working on a tower you need to prepare for the more than latest certifications, you need to have hands on experience. This training will provide the tower climber with the training needed to do their job. The certifications will provide the tower climber with the proof that they are certified. Most customers don’t just ask if you are trained but they require proof, certifications matter.

The training provided is around tower work. The Tower Safety tower and rescue training is to provide the tower climber with the skills to work on the tower safely and to rescue a fellow worker in trouble. This training is required and should be renewed annually because changes in the industry are happening on a regular basis.  The tower safety and instruction meets ANSI Z359, NATE CTS, and OSHA standards. The instructor will work with the student to insure that they have a good understanding of tower work and safety techniques.

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Don’t worry, when the NWSA standards are released, this will be incorporated into the program to make sure you are prepared for the certification test.

Let’s not forget that the OSHA training will be required by most customers. Tower Safety offer both OSHA 10 hour training and OSHA 30 hour training. The requirements are different based on what you job duties will be at the tower site. The key is safety training when working at a remote tower site! Make sure you are prepared with CPR and First-Aid training. Why? Because the tower crew could be at a tower site where first aid will be needed before help arrives.

Hazards are a key factor at the tower site. There are hazards you don’t see, like RF. So make sure that tower site workers have RF Awareness training.

This school goes deeper than normal training. The introduction to new equipment and why are we not using a lineman’s favorite harness, or ANSI rated aluminum carabiners, polyester vs. nylon rope is explained at this school.  There is a pick-off stick to rescue someone off a boom, why is that not part of our rescue bag?

There is always the possibility of risking the life of a rescuer while getting to the victim. As you know It is best practice for the rescuer to get above the victim, but what if they attach a carabiner and rope to his D-ring by this rescue clip and carefully descend him to the ground.  It keeps rescuing simple and takes the thought out of rigging and pick off.

Rescue Clip with 14 foot, high strength pole. Made of 7075 extruded aluminum tubing which resists bending. Collapses to 4 feet to easily fit in a truck compartment. Comes with three stage auto lock carabiner and attachment sling. See if the is video link helps:

Just wait, there’s more that Tower Safety offers that other don’t! I now that you are thinking, is this it? There is so much more that sets this school apart! With every Climber course Tower Safety will be giving a free tablet to every student, with extras from yours truly Wade4Wireless.com, all my books will be available.  These tablets show the forward thinking of Tower Safety and the availability for a Google hangout or live on meerkat with a Tower Safety Tablet (TST).  The usefulness of the TST to have instant access to knots, ropes, safety, OSHA, ANSI will be an asset to the tower worker and contractor.

What do they offer, read below!

Training for the tower worker included:

  • Authorized Climber – 16 hours of training
  • Competent Climber – 16 hours of training
  • Authorized Rescuer/Train the Trainer-24 hours of training
  • OSHA 10-hour Construction minimum 10 hours of training
  • OSHA 30-hour Construction-minimum 30 hours of training
  • RF Awareness- 4 hours of training
  • First Aid/CPR- 5 hours of training

Tower Safety has branched out, following the lead of NATE, to offer crane and rigging training. Before NATE announced working with the NCCCO, I had moved in with Tech Testing, a NCCCO crane school and knew the two industries worked together but separate and then it was announced. Not sure how we can phrase that but I would prefer if we lead instead of followed NATE… ego J. Working with the NCCCO for crane operator training. This certified crane operator, (CCO), training is offered at Tower Safety as well.

Crane operators are offered the following courses:

  • Crane Operator Training
  • Lift Director Training
  • Rigger Training
  • Signal Person Training
  • Forklift Certification Training
  • Inspection Training
  • OSHA

Tower Safety, being an accredited school, offers career services for students to utilize. They believe that the best defense against unemployment is to provide specialized career training and professional support. This service will provide the student with a good start in finding employment. Offering an employment services will give the people who are new to the workforce or new to the tower industry a way to connect with tower companies that are looking for trained people who have the necessary certifications.

They are developing the Drone training program. Drones are up and coming in the tower industry. They may be used for tower inspections and close out packages. However, to use drones for professional services will require training and certification. The FAA is still putting together the requirements for workers to use drones in the tower industry. Once these details have been worked out the training should be released shortly after.

For more on Tower Safety go to https://gem.godaddy.com/p/4f2c07?fe=1&pact=1-128862005-8483621508-0192074836d5a110d8038b85708da76f3fa4ccca

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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?

TFF: Don’t blame, don’t judge, just help!

There is the reality that tower climbers die on the job. Like it or not, this is part of the job. There are many reasons, stupidity, faulty equipment, and freak accidents. It happens. The Tower Family Foundation, (TFF), is there. They are the group started by NATE, read on to learn more.

These accidents leave a hole in the hearts of all those involved. The industry is affected by these happenings, it extends way beyond the family to all tower workers across the industry. It saddens the tower community. It breaks our hearts to hear about this!

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To be clear, the TFF will not judge, they just want to help the family. They just want to make sure that the family gets help as soon as possible. They are committed to supporting the families in this time of crisis. Also, I don’t have names of who they have helped for privacy reasons.

The Tower Family Foundation. Then there is the TFF, www.towerfamilyfoundation.org. The TFF was created by NATE, the National Association of Tower Erectors. The TFF has the full support of all of the members of NATE, they have raised close to dog-tags_clearbackgrond$1M for this cause and they have already given out over $60,000 to help families in need. They have a list of donors on their website, so make sure you go there and contribute what you can. To see who they have as donors go to http://towerfamilyfoundation.org/2015/10/tower-family-foundation-highlights-founding-donors-at-ctias-super-mobility-week-conference/ to see who is supporting them. Ben Little talked about the last fundraiser here.

I talked to Ben Little and Jim Tracy of the TFF. These 2 guys are so committed to raising money and to make sure that the families get taken care of within 7 days of an accident. Like I said, they don’t care what happened or whose fault it was, none of that matters, what’s done is done. They just want to make sure that the family gets the financial support they need within 7 days of an accident. They do all that they can to find out who the family is, usually with the help of the employer, and send them a check as soon as possible. They don’t ask questions, they don’t look for a thank you, they just want to help the family. No judgment.

These guys so all they can for the TFF with no pay, they don’t take a dime for any of the time they work on the TFF fundraisers or spending time with people like me, they don’t take a dime, they just commit to serving the greater cause of helping fallen climbers. It doesn’t matter if the climber or their company is a member of NATE, they work hard to provide support to the family within 7 days, no longer if at all possible. They want to make sure the families understand that there is someone there to provide a hand.

So when I talked to Ben he gets so emotional about this subject. He told me the story about how an accident happened near the holidays and they reached out to the employer to get information about the person so that they could have a check to the family before Christmas. They worked hard to ensure it was in their hands on Christmas Eve so that the family would not worry about finances on Christmas day. This got him all choked up just talking about it. He is seriously committed to make sure that the foundation serves one purpose, to support the families of the fallen without judgment.

They have a very organized fundraising system. So far they have raised close to $1M for the sole purpose of supporting climbers’ families. They are constantly looking for ways to raise money giving all that they can and raising money on fundraisers. They make sure that all the money goes to the families by donating their time to the foundation. That means that there is no overhead going into anyone’s pockets. They work hard and donate their time for this cause. They are always looking for ways to improve. They support the families financially and they are starting a scholarship program to make sure that the kids have all the opportunities they deserve!

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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?

 

When a Climber Falls, Who Cries?

When a climber falls, who hears the cries? First the coworkers, the people on the scene who work with this person every day, then the foreman or boss who has to inform the family. Then the family. While the company suffers, it does not compare to the family’s pain and loss. The family is left with the loss of a loved one. The family is going to grieve for their loss. The family is left with more than the loss of a loved one, the grief of injury or death. They are also dealing with the financial devastation.

There is help out there for these families that comes from donations from within the industry. Let us never forget the fallen. One more is too many, but it happens. So who will help? The Hubble Foundation.

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This group is there to help climbers that have accidents on the tower. There may be lawsuits, insurance delays, no income, and so dog-tags_clearbackgrondmuch finger-pointing to go around. The Hubble Foundation works hard to find out who needs the help and how to reach them. Specifically Dr. Bridgette Hester. She lost her husband, Jonce Hubble, when a tower came down after a truck backed into a guy while he was trying to come down. Now he is dead, and she didn’t have anyone outside of friends and family to support her.

You see, there is an ugly truth that tower climbers die on the job. Many due to poor training, some due to stupidity, and others in freak accidents. They die on the tower and in cars. We lost 7 this year, 2015, in-car accidents, so far. We lost more in tower related accidents. So many more have been hurt and will never climb again. Who helps these people? Read on

The Hubble Foundation! Do you know about the Hubble Foundation? It is named after Jonce Hubble who died when a tower collapsed and he was on it. He was coming down at the end of the day when a crane truck backed into a guy wire. This caused the wire to break and the tower collapse with Jonce Hubble and Barry Sloan trying to get down. They did not fall, the tower collapsed on top of them. This day changed Dr Bridgette Hester’s life forever. It motivated her to create the Hubble Foundation, www.hubblefoundation.org, and she has been helping tower climbers out ever since. From offering them meals, to providing financial support and scholarship money for their families after a tower worker died, she has been the working endlessly to help this part of the industry get over the horrible truth that people die in this job, usually for a little money. Most stay with it because they love it. Some die doing it. All I ask, if you could, go to www.hubblefoundation.org and give what you can. I interviewed Dr Hester which can be found here.

Quick facts:

  • Founded in 2012
  • IRS 501c3 organization
  • Conduct academic research to improve safety
  • Advocate safety with OSHA, FCC, and other organizations
  • Assist workers and their families for work related accidents.
  • Raised close to $200K since 2012
  • Provided Christmas donation for 37 children of injured and fallen climbers in 2014
  • The video is found here.

The Hubble Foundation has many supporters and is well-known inside the tower industry. Check out the newsletter, 2015 2nd Quarter newsletter, and it shows you what they are up to. They keep a good record of who they have helped and Dr. Hester is very approachable and easy to talk to. I am proud to say she is also a good friend who wrote a book about the accident and what she experienced. It is called “Godwink: On the Wings of Butterflies” and I only recommend reading it if you have a strong will. The first chapter will make you realize what the family goes through when they get “the call” and let me tell you something, my wife is happy she never had to go through that. My wife said, after starting to read the book that she had no idea how dangerous the job really was.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr Hester for all that she has done for this industry. She has done so much by herself that others would seem impossible. It really is amazing how far she got it with the help of the working class people in this industry building it up to provide the Hubble Foundation with the means to support so many family with financial aid, scholarships, and continued support throughout the years. She has been instrumental in helping these families rebuild.

The Hubble Foundation relies on donations from groups, like the Wireless Associations from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and California as well as people like you and me. Anyone who can help out does. I have given, so should anyone in this industry. She also relies on companies, like Rope + Rescue, to donate 1% of 17 specific items sold. She relies on individual donations as much as groups. Per Dr Hester”We have yet to have a LARGE telecom company step up and support what we do.  We have been grassroots since we started and our base following are the climbers themselves, the smaller companies, the families of the fallen, and several wireless associations (whom we adore), that have been with us from the beginning.”

Where the Hubble Foundation could use help is to respond quickly to these emergencies. If you could let all the coworkers know that they can reach out to Hubble for help so that the response time improves, that would be better for all.

Pay attention to be smart and be safe!

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official logoGive 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?

 

Climber Hurt at Tower Site! (But how?)

I have been reading the articles about the worker that was hurt and they said he fell, but did he? Apparently not, according to Wireless Estimator who talked to Josh Gelman of Centerline Communications the guy that was hurt was on the ground operating the cathead. He is stable now and doing better. I have links below that have more information. 

He was a Massachusetts contractor working at a Crown Castle site in Gorham, Maine. No name released yet.  

This just shows you that you have to be careful everywhere on the dog-tags_clearbackgrondtower site, not just in the air. Make sure that you are paying attention at all times. Remember that complacency causes accidents because you overlook the obvious hazards.

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Related links:

http://wirelessestimator.com/articles/2015/massachusetts-tech-suffers-serious-injuries-after-falling-from-a-maine-cell-tower/

http://www.keepmecurrent.com/american_journal/news/cell-tower-worker-injured-in-gorham/article_44ca3e48-2581-11e5-974f-3b664cff07bc.html

http://www.pressherald.com/2015/07/07/man-working-on-cellphone-tower-in-gorham-seriously-injured-in-fall/

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

Also, in other news:

Comtrain released a statement that Mike Jones is now the new director of Safety and Training! Way to go Mike!

Full statement below!

July 6, 2015

Comtrain would like to announce the addition of R. Michael (Mike) Jones to our team of safety professionals. Mike will assume the position of Director of Safety and Training beginning July 6, 2015.

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Mike came to the tower industry in 2008 after several years in the auto industry. As a technician in the metal work shop of a large manufacturing plant, he became extremely in tune with the need for safe working processes that effect employees. After serving on multiple safety committees, Mike completed a degree in Occupational Health and Safety. In 2008, he had the opportunity to join General Dynamics as Safety Manager of the Wireless Division. Over the past several years, Mike has obtained countless certifications and authorizations specific to safety in the tower industry. He holds certifications from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals as a Certified Environmental Health and Safety Trainer (CET) as well as a Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST). Mike has been an Authorized OSHA Trainer since 2009 as well as holding trainer authorizations in Tower Climbing Safety and Rescue, First Aid/CPR, RF Awareness, Rigging, Mobile Cranes, and Aerial Lifts. He became a SPRAT Level 1 Rope Access Technician in 2012 and after several years of auditing remote jobsites across the country, became a Wilderness First Responder in April of 2013. Mike Jones is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has served as a team member in medical missions to the remote area of Robillard, Haiti for the past seven years and was a part of the US response team to Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the earthquake of 2010.

Mike will oversee all safety processes, training operations, equipment use and selection and internal compliance. He will be pursuing NATE, OSHA, ANSI and other safety committee positions so that Comtrain can have an active voice in the future of tower safety.

What were you thinking?

Let me know and I will add you to my email list.

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A Quick Note on First Climbs

OK, I thought I would share some information about how to handle the first climb. Not everyone goes to Tower Safety training on day one, (Tower Safety is my sponsor). The probably shouldn’t because if they go to tower safety class on day one then that will be their first climb, at the class. That’s OK if that’s your structure. But what if they hate climbing? Do they know that before they climb, not always.

By the way, Dr Hester of the Hubble Foundation is looking for comments on this,  bridgette@hubblefoundation.org.

This has sparked a lot of controversy when the information came out about the Stephanie Gurney, posted here and Wireless Estimator has it here.

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So with the first climb, what can you do to make sure the climber is safe? Do you just send them up the tower and hope for the best? That’s what I did when I went up the first time, and I would never let anyone do that again, it was stupid and I would like to think we have learned.

I would recommend this procedure.

  • Before sending someone up the first time I would recommend that they actually help out with a tower crew on the ground first so they are familiar with the hardware and structure of what is going on. How long is up to you. I think that 2 weeks is the minimum.
  • Then when you send them up the tower the first time I recommend that you take every precaution. I would send up the experienced person first and have them rig a safety line up high. Then make sure the new climber has a rope grab on them at all times. That way if they can’t handle the safety lanyard they will have the rope grab as a backup. I don’t care if it’s cumbersome and a pain to use, it insures they have a backup safety line no matter what. Make sure they know and understand how to use the safety lanyard and the positioning lanyard. Go up with them if possible.
  • Take the first climb very seriously. Make sure that the climber knows you are near.
  • Limit the climb to 50 feet or less until you know they are very comfortable.

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OK, excuses:

  • We don’t have time!
    1. Will you have time to bury them?
  • That costs extra money.
    1. What does a funeral cost? What about a lawsuit? What about a life?
  • If they say they are ready, then they are ready.
    1. You won’t know until they do it.
  • I know this person, they have no fear.
    1. It’s not about just fear, it’s about skill!
  • They say they are ready.
    1. Wouldn’t you say that if you needed a job?
  • I don’t’ want to embarrass them in front of the crew.
    1. Do you want them to die in front of the crew?

To sum it up, I would be overly cautious, safety takes time and money. Unfortunately many companies just don’t care. However, many do care and to those owners I say thank you and keep up the good work!

One more note, when I got certified under Winton Wilcox, he had everyone wear a rope grab. It just made sense.  First guy up rigged the safety lines.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

I am building my email list and listening to you!

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Please support the Hubble Foundation by donating today!

“I sought my God and my God I could not find.

I sought my soul and my soul eluded me.

I sought my brother to serve him in his need, and I found all three.

My God, my soul and thee”

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NWSA Needs Tower Techs for Board Seats!

The NWSA, National Wireless Safety Alliance, is seeking tower technicians, tower climbers, to fill board seats for the Board of Governors. Want to know more? Let me tell you what is going on.

Here is the press release put out by NATE.

The NWSA was formed to create a national standard for training for tower climbers. They will have a national standard for tower technicians, foreman, and other positions in the industry. This is backed by NATE and several companies. The plan is to make sure every climber out there has a standard training certification before doing work. This is going to go beyond the training school to make sure all tower technicians understand the basics that are set national, very similar to Cisco training, Fireman training, and so on.

Ω Click here to learn more on Wireless

So they are looking for people who work in the industry, they are look for tower technicians to take a seat to help set the standards. Do you think you qualify? If so then make sure that you fill out the application, found here. The deadline is June 19th of 2015. Make sure that you apply today! Complete the application and send it to nwsa@nws-a.org as soon as you can!

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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Where the best get better! 480-313-0678

Special thanks to Tower Safety for their sponsorship! Tower Safety, where the best get better.

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