Tower Erectors' Group Launches Industry-Wide Safety Drive

The National Association of Tower Erectors began its 2008 annual convention Monday at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla. with a new initiative to raise the entire industry's awareness of tower safety. A keynote speech today by OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. will highlight progress thus far, and members are being asked to show their commitment by signing an 8-foot wall.

"What we're trying to do with this new initiative is really drive safety as a priority focus, from the top of the ladder -- that being the CFOs, the CEOs -- down to the tower climbers," said Kari Carlson, a NATE board member who is chief operating officer and director of operations for Tower Systems South Inc. of Winter Park, Fla. "We're really trying to make a rededication to safety, make sure that it's looked at at all levels and incorporated into policies and requests for proposals, and really try to change the industry and make it a culture of safety."

"As you know, the focus for NATE since the beginning has been on safety," said Kevin Hayden, also a NATE board member and president of Hayden Tower Service Inc. of Topeka, Kansas. "But, as Kari said, we're trying to talk to tower owners, tower operators, from very top to the bottom. That's what this new initiative is. The drive is to have that rededication to safety throughout the whole industry," he continued. "You know, safety is a continuing effort. The NATE board believes that it's good to rededicate yourself on a continuous basis to safety and making sure everybody in the industry is involved in safety."

NATE has more than 550 member companies in the United States and six other countries, Executive Director Patrick Howey said. NATE is halfway through the first year of a national partnership with OSHA that has "raised the bar" for the industry, he said, by stressing training, having competent persons on site at all times, and ensuring safety programs are implemented. NATE offers safety videos and materials to its members and stresses safety at its regular meetings, including this year's summer meeting, which will take place in August in Minneapolis. Visit www.natehome.com for information.

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