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Executive Summary of 2008 Annual Evaluation
National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE)-OSHA
National Partnership

Background:

On November 8, 2006, NATE and OSHA formed a national OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) with the key purpose being to work together to educate and promote safety and health in the communication tower industry. The OSP plans to accomplish its goals by focusing on efforts, skills, knowledge, and resources of NATE and OSHA to benefit tower erector industry employers and employees. Another additional benefit expected as a result of the OSP is increased communication and respect between partners and other stakeholders. The OSP expires on November 8, 2009.

Partnership Goals:
  • Reduce the percentage of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities of participating telecommunication and broadcast tower erection employers, and their subcontractors, to an aggregate rate that is below the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) national average, based on most recently published data.
    • Recognize participants that successfully achieve reductions in illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.
    • Improve awareness of OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) on the hazards/issues associated with the tower erection industry.
Partnership Objectives:
  • Analyze participant data to identify causal factors and corrective actions and share corrective actions.
  • Identify best practices for the development and implementation of successful ergonomics programs and guidelines.
  • Develop, implement, and share best practices with participants. Establish a website or tool to communicate best practices among participating NATE members.
  • Develop a recognition system to recognize participants for reductions in injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the telecommunications and broadcast tower erection industry.
  • Increase the number of employees that attend the OSHA 3150 Tower Safety course.
2008 Highlights:

The OSP has completed two annual evaluations so far - one in 2007 and one in 2008 - with many positive outcomes showing as a result. During the second year of the OSP, 97 employers participated which covered over 4,000 employees - four times the number of employees covered during the first year of the OSP.

The latest results from the 2008 annual evaluation show that the OSP developed industry-specific training courses and offered almost 50,000 hours of training (more than double the number of hours during the first year), with 1,040 employees, managers, and supervisors receiving the OSHA 10-hour course and 448 received the OSHA 30-hour course. All 97 of the participants' developed, implemented, and/or improved their safety and health management system using OSHA's 1989 Guidelines as a model. Over 1,300 self-inspections were performed (700 more than during the first year) resulting in 350 hazards and/or violations being identified and corrected/abated.

In 2008, the OSP's overall Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) was 3.4. - a decrease of 40 percent from the first year - and the Partnership's Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) rate was 2.6 - a 37 percent decrease from Year 1. The Partnership's two-year TCIR average rate was 4.2 - 14 percent below the 2007 BLS national average of 4.9. The OSP's average two-year DART rate was 3.3 which is 14 percent above the 2007 BLS national average of 2.9. Although the OSP's DART rate is above the national average, it is important to note that the OSP decreased their DART rate by 37 percent from Year 1 which is quite an accomplishment.

NATE developed its groundbreaking "It's Up to You" Public Service Announcement (PSA) which was released on November 11, 2008. Tower companies, regulatory groups, families of tower workers who were victims, and other key industry stakeholders came together to deliver the message about the importance of safe work practices. The OSP reached another milestone as MidAmerica Tower Service was the first OSP participant to attain Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) New Star recognition.

The OSP was involved in many different safety and health outreach and promotion activities, including participating in public speaking events, developing marketing materials, posting information online, and conducting webinars. NATE also regularly disseminates regular safety updates and notices known as "NATE News" to its members via email which are later posted on NATE's website. An example of such a notice includes following tower worker fatalities that involved rappelling, NATE disseminated an Industry Safety Alert to remind members to utilize fall arrest equipment and follow safety requirements and procedures while rappelling and descending from a tower (July 2008).

The OSP continues to work to promote safe practices in the communication tower industry. Future plans in 2009 include continuing to develop and post safety-related material on the NATE website, streamlining the application process, and conducting a trend analysis of the tower worker fatalities that occurred in 2008. The OSP also plans to discuss and share information on applicable enforcement information and updates. This effort will assist with conducting safety and health outreach on the casual factors of the accidents and help to develop best practices in the industry.

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