Jim Coleman, chairman, National Association of Tower Erectors, recently released the following statement: “Last summer the tower industry experienced a number of preventable accidents. These losses devastated and affected the entire industry, as these individuals were more than co-workers; they were our friends and family.

“As we enter into another busy construction season, the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) believes it is imperative that everyone in the tower industry come together and make the daily effort of recognizing the potential hazards faced on each job site to prevent accidents from happening.

“Keeping safety top of mind is critical to the success of our workplace safety programs and our industry overall. Each and every one of us must take the steps to ensure that our companies have established and implemented the necessary safety practices and procedures before every project begins.

“Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is our first line of defense and most effective safety measure that can be employed universally by anyone climbing a tower. Most accidents have proven not to be the result of faulty equipment, but rather human error involving the improper use or lack of safety equipment, the lack of proper training and preparation, poor communication, taking shortcuts, working in unsafe conditions or plain old carelessness. If we remain vigilant and take the necessary measures to ensure safety, we can raise employee morale and stop accidents from occurring.

“To ensure that your PPE is safe to use, you or your designated competent person must perform daily equipment inspections. Any worn, damaged or improperly functioning equipment must be removed from service immediately. Audits of the company’s safety practices need to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure employees are putting their training into practice and 100 percent fall protection should be mandated at all times, regardless of height of the job.

“Dedication to safety is a continuous effort. It is essential to create a culture of safety for your company on a daily basis. Increased safety awareness and fewer on-the-job injuries will result in more employees’ lives being saved and an increase in the company’s bottom line. The rush to fix a problem or deploy a site can seem overriding, but the cost of an accident is far more disruptive to a company than any service outage. Do not be pushed to complete tasks faster than can safely be performed.

“We must all take the time to talk to our foremen, safety directors and employees about safety. Emphasize that safety not only comes first, it is a requirement of their employment. Make certain that everyone has the proper training and equipment to meet safety expectations. Remind everyone that their lives and the lives of their fellow workers depend on the decisions they make. We must do this today and let our employees know that daily tailgate talks are how each day must begin.

“As NATE continues to work hard to produce materials that keep everyone informed about safety advancements in the tower industry, we must all do our part to reduce injuries and loss of life. Lead by example and commit to making safety your company’s top priority this summer and every season. Together, we can ensure everyone goes home safe at the end of every day. Remember, when it comes to safety, It’s Up To You!”