NATE Expects Exciting Year in Store for 2016

Increases in tower work opportunities require more training
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Todd Schlekeway

The author is the executive director of the National Association of Tower Erectors. Commentaries from NATE appear regularly in Radio World.

For over 20 years, the National Association of Tower Erectors has been the undisputed global leader in safety, quality, standards and education for the wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure industries. While the association continues to celebrate our past success, NATE’s leadership is steadfastly focused on looking ahead to what is in store for 2016.

The association was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Labor to receive a $140,000 OSHA Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Training Grant. Since 1978, approximately 2.1 million workers have been trained through this program.

To fulfill the goals of the training grant program, NATE is collaborating with Middleburg Heights, Ohio-based Safety Controls Technology for the development of the Susan Harwood training curriculum. The curriculum will focus on the hazards in the communication tower industry and includes employee rights, employer responsibilities, whistleblower protection, high angle rescue, principles of fall protection, principles of safe climbing, tower systems, testing safety climb systems, and testing personal protective equipment. Additionally, the grant will also be utilized to develop curriculum for a “train-the-trainer” program.

NATE plans to host these grant-enabled training courses throughout the country in 2016 and anticipates that the program will have a nationwide impact, help small businesses establish a culture of safety and ultimately enhance worker safety and quality. The timing of this training grant is fortuitous as 2016 is shaping up to be a busy year for the industry’s elevated workforce. On the wireless side, many of the major national carriers are expected to increase their capital expenditures which will ultimately lead to more network deployment activities for workers. On the broadcast side, the 600 MHz Incentive Auction that is scheduled to begin in late March of 2016 will ultimately lead to more work due to the repacking process that must begin on broadcast structures when the auction concludes.

In 2016, the association will also be unveiling the “Climber Connection” marketing campaign. The “Climber Connection” campaign is the brainchild of the NATE Member Services Committee and is designed to provide resources and communicate the association’s message directly to the industry’s elevated workforce. A central element of the campaign will be the official release of 12 Climber Connection safety videos; each focused on a unique safety topic or issue involving working at heights. As part of the campaign, NATE will debut one Climber Connection video each month and publicize it utilizing the association’s social media platforms and other communication mediums. Industry stakeholders are encouraged to get involved in this campaign using the hash tag #ClimberConnection.

Finally, I would encourage Radio World’s readers to make plans today to attend NATE Unite 2016, the association’s premier conference and trade show. NATE Unite 2016 will be held February 22–25, 2016 in New Orleans, La., and is the place to interact with key decision makers in the wireless and broadcast industries. The Big Easy will be the place to be in February as the association is anticipating a record number of attendees and exhibitors for NATE Unite 2016. Visit the NATE Unite 2016 website today to register for the conference.

In closing, NATE appreciates the prominent role Radio World plays in devoting coverage to a wide range of issues that are of importance to the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industry. Keep up the great work!

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