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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A conversation with TIRAP’s chief on human dignity and following industry standards

A conversation with TIRAP’s chief on human dignity and following industry standards

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator September 22, 2015

Although Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program Chairman Scott Kisting embraces every opportunity available that will assist wireless technicians in working safer, he believes that there are two key components that ride above all others: human dignity of all within the workforce and the proper awareness, planning, education and application of existing standards.


While there are many people at work trying to ensure that the industry provides a safe work environment, many of the conversations that are discussed, such as anchor points, inspections, maintenance, design changes and others are important, but there are two core issues that must be addressed above all, Kisting explained to Wireless Estimator in an interview.

“As we are well aware, most of the damage to towers, equipment and appurtenances occurs at the hands of contractors that do not understand the standards and how it applies to their scope of work or how to communicate properly with the clients to inform them of the onsite conditions experienced during various installations,” Kisting said.

“Very seldom have I ever run into a situation in my career where I was unable to work with the client to help them understand the standards and work to a solution that safely resolved the issue in accord with the standards.”

“Currently, there are a great number of people that are working towards the increased awareness of the standards and their application. It is my hope that as an industry we will recognize our areas of responsibility and work to become better informed in those areas,” Kisting said.

“Secondly, I believe that it is critical to address the human dignity of all within our workforce,” he said.

“If we don’t respect the dignity of ourselves and others we really don’t have an effective starting place that will lead to the conversation and resolution of the issues we face.”

“When we look at some of the deaths that have occurred it seems that the PPE or other equipment is in place, but it does not appear it was properly utilized.  It seems to me that we must do a better job as an industry to convey to the men and women that work in wireless how important they are to the industry and to the American people.”

“Think of it this way,” Kisting explained. “Twenty years ago the cellular phone was a luxury service; that is simply not the case anymore.  Wireless telecommunications has become a necessary and essential means of communication. We are using this service to compete in more effective manners on a global scale while providing a means to be more efficient in most every area of our daily lives.”

“In the case of a disaster, the restoration of wireless communication is critical in the endeavor to restore the affected area and to facilitate rescue. When we think of all these great things that occur every day in this country because of what these men and women do we have to take pause and think of how to convey our thanks, support and recognition of the dignity of each of these men and women. We should all seek to help them plan their work daily so that it is done in a safe, quality and effective manner,” said Kisting.

When safety issues arise, Kisting said the industry should be willing to understand and work through those concerns in a manner that helps workers address the problem and deliver a work product that they are proud of.

“When we hold people accountable for their actions it is then that we will correct the second of what I believe are the two core issues to address allowing the industry to have a quality work product in the safest manner.”

“There is a quote that goes along the lines of ‘get the first things first and the rest will follow.’ This is where I think we are as an industry.  It is not as simple as stopping some of the other meritorious conversations, but my suggestion is that we as an industry frame these conversations around these two basic issues,” Kisting said.

Scott Kisting will be speaking at the 2015 Environmental, Health & Safety International Communications conference on Thursday in Los Angeles, Calif.

He is the Senior Vice President for Risk & Compliance for Midwest Underground Technology. He was a Subject Matter Expert for the OSHA Training Institute and continues to work with members of ANSI/TIA as well as other committees in support of education in the industry.


Tags: Regulations, TIRAP, Wireless Infrastructure, Worker Accidents


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Going beyond compliance standards and use of SAUCE could curtail tower-site accidents

Going beyond compliance standards and use of SAUCE could curtail tower-site accidents

In Associations News, Featured News, Standards, Training News & Initiatives by Wireless Estimator September 9, 2015

Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) board chairman Scott Kisting today urged members of the wireless infrastructure industry to watch a newly produced video aimed at strengthening workplace safety, enhancing workplace quality, and improving worker health and safety training.

Initiated by TIRAP and produced by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the video released today, the first of a planned ongoing series, was moderated by Jim Maddux, Director of Construction Safety, OSHA; with panelists Paul Roberts, Vice President of Compliance, American Tower Corporation; John Erichsen, Structural Engineer and Chairman TIA/TR14 Committee; and Scott Kisting, Sr. Vice President, MUTI Tower Service Company and Chairman of the TIRAP Board of Directors.

In the general discussion video regarding tower safety and work quality, available here, Maddux emphasized that the OSH Act requires employers to provide a safe and healthful work environment for their workers.

“But to be really safe, employers need to go beyond the OSHA standards, implement safety and health programs, make sure that they have effective policies and training programs, and supervise their employees in a way that minimizes unsafe actions,” he said.

Being a ‘student’ is a career-long obligation
He also said, “In the scheme of things, our industry is still very young. It is in a state of almost constant change. The men and women who do this work always have to be students, as what they are doing today may not be what they will be doing tomorrow. We have to do a better job in communicating the standards to each member of our industry. We must understand how the standards apply, to what we are responsible for and ensure that we know when to refer an issue from a contractor to an engineer or when an engineer should be advising an owner.”

Roberts also reinforced the need to follow standards.

One important area to accelerate safety within the industry, he said, is “to increase our compliance with our industry standards.” Roberts believes it’s not only important to improve industry standards, but “to work with our industry associations to ensure that we properly define and illustrate the expectations for proper tower work.”

“But, perhaps most importantly, we need to make sure that we have an attitude that is set in our workforce that anyone can stop, when they feel that level of risk increase, when they feel that level of discomfort, that the best thing to do is stop, just stop and back away from the task, understand it and move forward.”

Erichsen, whose committee writes the consensus standard ANSI/TIA-1019 for the installation, alteration and maintenance of antenna supporting structures, said it’s necessary for workers to be able to “effectively plan and execute the statement of work that is out in the field so the employees know what they should be doing and what their roles are in the process.”

He stressed that engineers and contractors have to be willing to talk to each other and “ask the proper questions. The owners have to make it obvious to all involved that that’s an important part of the process.”

Personal responsibility is emphasized
Kisting focused upon taking personal responsibility as a way to cut down on incidents, deaths and fatalities, and introduced SAUCE, an acronym for Stop, Assess, Understand, Communicate, Execute.

“We as an industry have to recognize that each and every individual in the industry has the obligation and must apply the courage to stop and apply the sauce when it’s necessary,” Kisting said.

Kisting explained, “No matter how good of a job we do at planning, it’s still construction and there are going to be changed conditions.” When these changed conditions occur, workers have to have the courage to stop the work and further assess it, Kisting said.

He strongly believes that through better communications and a better understanding of applicable standards, the industry will see a marked decline in worksite incidents.

The video emphasizes the need for industry executives, engineers, and contractors to ask the tough questions and not be afraid to intervene when necessary.  It also urges workers to stop when concerned about safety conditions – and not continue until those conditions have been improved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Telecommunications Consortium Teaming with DoL, FCC on Public-Private Workforce Training Initiative

Washington, D.C.  – A consortium of telecommunications companies and industry associations today joined with the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to unveil a public-private partnership aimed at developing apprenticeships to improve workplace safety, address industry workforce needs, and provide workers with greater employment and advancement opportunities.


I just wanted to take a minute of your time to tell you how much I appreciate the effort it took to create the MUTI Solutions Guide that I received from a while back and the updated one I received this morning. This is a wonderful document and very helpful in my daily efforts to ensure quality MW installations on all of our customer sites. Thank you for the effort and the dedication it takes to keep a document like this current.

Larry Alford
Senior Manager Program Management
Aviat Networks

The crew was a pleasure to work with.  I've worked with towers since 1986 and have worked with many crews over the years. You guys did a great job. Very professional. Good communication, followed safety procedures, left a clean job site. It couldn't have gone more smoothly.  Thanks again for a job well done!

Bill Porter
Director of Broadcast Engineering
Bradley University

The crew we had yesterday was the best I’ve ever worked with. I got their business cards from them. Let’s always request that crew. We got a 15db improvement at Albion and a 17db improvement at Johnsonville.

They had a bad hand dealt to them at J-ville and Bluford. They basically had to adjust that hop on both ends without any fine tune adjustments. You should have heard the way they communicated and handled it. I was totally impressed.

John Oliver
Network Technician
Verizon Wireless

Thanks for the great work you do for US Cellular! We appreciate not only what you do for us but the way you do it with passion towards a well done job!

David Seykota, P.E.
Construction Manager - Midwest Region
U.S. Cellular

I really appreciate how well  MUTI has performed on this project. It’s a pleasure to see a project come in on time and on budget, and I couldn’t be happier with the end result. Thanks!

J. Drew Hoel
City Administrator
City of Tuscola

I just wanted to reach out to all of you at MUTI to say thank you for all your efforts this year.  I am sure that you recognize that things we do are not just helping U.S. Cellular®, but they are changing the industry as a whole.  Congratulations on being such an effective company and I so look forward to the work we will do in the coming year.

Philip Spatafora
Project Manager
U.S. Cellular®

MUTI consistenly exhibits values of an organization that their leaders and associates always have the customer's perspective in mind.

Scott Nelson
Project Manager
U.S. Cellular

MUTI is a professional company and they take pride in their work and more importantly my satisfaction with their work.  They have been very reliable.

Chad McCague
Network Operations Manager
Verizon Wireless

MUTI’s installation practices exceed the manufacturers’ recommendations. The Installation crews are staffed with very knowledgeable and professional individuals that take pride in the services they deliver. My customer and project team have been impressed with the quality of work and the professionalism of the field crews. MUTI’s Project Management Team provides timely status reports and coordinates the field crews to complete the work on time, on budget, and with a focus on customer satisfaction. I have recommended MUTI to my colleagues for upcoming projects and will continue to do so!

Ronald Pender
Senior Program Manager
Aviat Networks Inc.

Once again I just wanted to say thanks. You & your people always respond so quickly & professionally when these little emergencies pop up. It is a relief to know that MUTI is always there when we call & it is greatly appreciated.

Tyler Tomaras
Senior Operations Technician

I want to thank you for assisting Verizon Wireless in achieving our project goals last year. You and your team showed outstanding work ethic and dedication in meeting and achieving all of our goals. Thank you again for your professional and quality service.

Ron Pauly
Senior Construction Manager
Verizon Wireless

I have been impressed with the level of coordination, follow up, and customer service Midwest Underground Technology provides. Their can do attitude and get it done approach make projects flow smoothly and efficiently.

Rich Lazarski
Senior Project Manager
US Cellular

Based on what has gone down over the last year your team is a prime member of our working family here. I think that we would have not been as successful as we are if it was not for your team.

Phil McKenzie
Operations Manager
Verizon Wireless

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