NATE Visits OSHA
Categories: NATE News
On September 20, the NATE Legislative & Regulatory “travel squad” met at the Department of Labor with top OSHA officials to discuss the Association’s ongoing efforts to secure a modest modification to the existing riding the line policy directive. At present, the directive permits tower workers to ride the line for tower construction activities, but not for tower maintenance or modification.
Following the meeting, seven senior OSHA officials toured two tower sites in Washington, D.C. with NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway, Don Doty (Doty-Moore Tower Services LLC), Terry Sharp (Grant Tower, Inc.), and NATE’s Washington representative, Jim Goldwater (Bob Lawrence & Associates), to help them better understand tower climbing and the challenges associated with the activity. As part of the tour, Don Doty and Terry Sharp explained the technique.
“I was impressed by the number of participants and the level of sophistication in OSHA’s questions,” stated Don Doty from Doty-Moore Tower Services LLC. “To me it showed the officials had done their homework and were well-prepared for our discussions. I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by Jordan Barab and Jim Maddux in addressing worker safety for the tower industry.”
The OSHA officials who went on the tower site visit were:
Jim Maddux, Director, Directorate of Construction
Paul Bolon, Director, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance
Erin Patterson, Regulatory Analyst, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance
Gopal Menon, Structural Engineer, Office of Engineering Services
Tesfaye Guttema, Structural Engineer, Office of Engineering Services
Dean McKenzie, Occupational Safety and Health Specialist, Office of Construction Services
Sherman Williamson, Occupational Safety and Health Specialist, Office of General Industry and Agricultural Enforcement (Directorate of Enforcement Programs)
Moreover, to provide a deeper appreciation for the inherent dangers of tower work and the fatigue and repetitive stress injuries that can result from climbing – and the need to provide a safer, more efficient means of ascending and descending towers – NATE offered OSHA staff the opportunity to try on the equipment that tower workers wear when accessing their work stations. This equipment, including the harness and tools, weighed over 60 pounds.
“We emphatically believe that having OSHA officials visit several tower sites and wear or at least pick up the heavy equipment worn by climbers provided a tangible example to help them understand what tower technicians go through on a daily basis while performing work on towers,” said NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway.
The OSHA officials reiterated that revising the policy directive is a priority for the agency. Furthermore, they expressed their hope that the matter could be finalized before Inauguration Day in January.
NATE was greatly encouraged by this latest visit to Washington and OSHA's abiding interest in addressing the issue. The Association remains cautiously optimistic.
“Our March meeting with OSHA was tempered yet helpful because we identified what was impeding our progress to modify the CPL,” said Terry Sharp from Grant Tower, Inc. “Our meeting last week was very candid, productive, and insightful for both sides. It appears we had all the right players from OSHA at the table eager to resolve our long impasse.”
Click on the website link below to view a YouTube interview with Jim Goldwater discussing NATE’s Legislative & Regulatory policy efforts in Washington, D.C.
NATE will continue to keep our members and industry stakeholders informed on issues facing the tower construction industry in the legislative and regulatory arenas.