Small Business Roundtable Participation
Categories: Small Business Issues
Small Business Roundtable Participation
The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) is a non-profit trade organization in the wireless infrastructure industry, and is recognized as the tower industry leader in promoting safety, standards and education. NATE’s membership includes over 820 member companies that construct, service, and maintain hundreds of thousands of communications towers throughout the United States and nine other countries.
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
OSHA is currently contemplating new regulations on our industry and has initiated a rule-making process on the subject of Communication Tower Safety. In 2015, OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to companies and stakeholders in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries. NATE was an active participant in this process and submitted a detailed and comprehensive response to the RFI.
The next step in this rulemaking process requires OSHA to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel before publishing a proposed rule with an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. This SBAR panel is a requirement under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBEFRA) and is made up of a chair from OSHA, the Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The SBAR panel meets with representatives of directly regulated small entities and offers an opportunity to provide advice and recommendations on regulatory alternatives to minimize the burden on small entities.
NATE has submitted names of small business representatives to OSHA and the U.S. Small Business Administration whom we would like to see participate in the SBAR panel process. The Association is preparing to play a prominent role in the SBAR panel in order to ensure that the voices and perspectives from our member companies are heard.
NATE representatives have also participated in a series of Small Business Labor Safety Roundtables discussing OSHA’s proposed rulemaking, including one two weeks ago.
The Association recently entered discussions with OSHA officials about establishing a formal national partnership to enhance safety in the telecommunications tower industry.
NATE Recommendation to U.S. Department of Labor – OSHA
NATE is advocating that the U.S. Department of Labor – OSHA take the time to review and adopt the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) A10.48 Standard - Criteria for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition, Modification and Maintenance of Communications Structures and ANSI/Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) 322 Standard -Loading, Analysis, and Design Criteria Related to the Installation, Alteration and Maintenance of Communication Structures National Consensus Tower Standards. These recent national consensus standards are game-changers developed by industry for industry to provide the ultimate road map for the industry and government to follow.
NATE is advocating that OSHA should adopt the new ANSI/ASSE A10.48 and ANSI/TIA 322 National Consensus Standards in lieu of continuing down its current path of imposing new regulations on the communications tower industry. These new regulations could adversely impact small businesses in the communications tower industry.
The A10.48 Standard has the distinction of being the first comprehensive standard encompassing the entire tower construction, service and maintenance industry.
The standard establishes minimum criteria for safe work practices and training for personnel performing work on communication structures including antenna and antenna supporting structures, broadcast and other similar structures supporting communication related equipment. The complete construction and use standard thoroughly addresses the following categories:
Job Site Conditions
Radio Frequency/Electromagnetic Energy
Base Mounted Hoists Used for Overhead Material Lifting and Personnel Lifting
Personnel Lifting Accessories and Processes
Gin Poles and Other Lifting Devices
Climbing Facilities and Access
Structural Construction Loading Considerations
Helicopter Used for Lifting Loads
The final version of the A10.48 Standard is a by-product of over six years of hard work and diligence by a group of dedicated organizations and subject matter experts in the industry. The A10.48 Standard will provide the ultimate road map for companies and workers to adhere to in order to raise the bar on safety and quality in the industry and will fill a huge void that currently exists in the industry.
The Association has urged OSHA to review and adopt the A10.48 Standard and the accompanying TIA 322 Standard as opposed to continuing down its path that could lead to regulatory overreach. These national consensus standards were developed by industry for the industry and OSHA should adopt them accordingly.
NATE will continue to support programs to enhance worker safety, and has partnered with both OSHA and the Federal Communications Commission on a range of programs to enhance tower worker education, training, and safety while promoting the expansion of broadband. Over the past several years, we have also collaborated in the development and implementation of best practice resources, policy guidelines and directives. NATE officials participated in both of the joint FCC-DOL tower climber safety workshops in Washington, D.C.