Understanding how TIRAP can assist employees and employers

Discussion in 'TIRAP - Telecommunications Apprenticeship Program' started by Wireless Estimator, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. Wireless Estimator

    Wireless Estimator Administrator Staff Member

    TIRAP, the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program, is being heralded by private and public sectors as a vehicle that will clearly improve workplace safety and provide greater employment and advancement opportunities.

    Wireless infrastructure industry companies and employees will have numerous questions as it’s rolled out. We’ll strive to provide the answers through TIRAP.

    Start a new thread with your important questions and comments, and bookmark this forum to keep abreast of all things TIRAP.
  2. 100% Tied Off

    100% Tied Off Industry Observer

    I cheer for the new TIERAP Program to get some footing and make a difference in our industry.

    I have an interesting perspective on the state of our industry. I started in the industry in 96 with a very small outfit. The owner was on site working with the crew. The owner was a Professional Engineer. He lived and breathed towers. In the hotel, at breakfast, in the truck, on the site, up on the tower and at supper he was always teaching. He was always right at your side literally or by radio, explaining the next step, why we were doing it this way and what precautions needed to be taken.

    His training model was “hands on” with him or an experienced man right by your side. As we would work he would point out how others in the industry had failed at what we were doing at that moment, and how we were going to prevent making the same mistake. I feel blessed I received my training in this way.

    I started my own outfit some years later and used the same “hands on “approach and injecting his stories and also my own stories of close calls and near misses. It took me 4 years of working with a crew to split off into two crews, and another 4 years to get to 8 crews. Unfortunately I had a GC take his money and run and stiff me $150,000.00 +. I had let go 34 good employees and close the doors, and sell out. I spent the Next 10 years Licking my wounds and doing odd jobs. Build a garage, Lay a floor, pour a side walk, trim some trees, turn some wrenches, etc.

    Just a little over a year ago I decided I should get back to building a retirement and doing what I was best at” Towers”.

    I applied with a huge electrical contractor who was in the tower business. In the interview I was told the company had just gotten into towers in December of 2012, had 60 crews and there target was 120 crews by January 2013. I was amazed at the amount of growth this company was experiencing. The undertaking of getting crews filled with experienced men boggled my mind.

    I accepted a fair starting wage as a Tec III and I attended a 3 week training course. I received the following Certifications Crane Signaling, Basic Electrical, First Aid/CPR/BBP/AED, HAZCOM, Ladder and Stairs, Lock Out/Tag Out, OSHA 10, Personal Protective Equipment, Rigging, Scaffold, Scissor & Boom Lift, D.O.T Driver card, Tower Climb/Rescue and Fall Protection. The Classes resembled a Drive through like MICKY Dee’s. I was given a telephone number for a crew lead. I called it and met up with a crew the next day.

    The crew:
    1. Crew lead was an electrical helper from the electrical side of the company and had built his first site the week before, he had a harness but no climber Certification.
    2. A man who had been with the company 2 weeks former military man of 20 years, as a Drill sergeant, He had not climbed as of yet.
    3. A man who had just completed training with me and had delivered Pizzas before coming to work for this company.

    Equipment: Brand new truck, trailer. The trailer was a danger to enter because of everything just thrown inside. 2-Blocks were supplied. They were brand new disposable Junk with no lubricant, heavy web slings with straight eyes on each end 2 -20’X3”, 1-10’X3”, 2-3’X3”. 10-7/8 galvanized shackles, 1-1000# rated AB chance Capstan, and 600’ of load Rope in a plastic tote, 1- 350’ tag rope, 2- huge material Buckets, 5 – Small carabineers and 5- large Carabineers.

    I worked with this company about 14 months. The company was always shuffling people around. Crews never able to develop together. 98% of the Crew leads were from the electrical side of the company. This company had developed a system of installation that possessed no solid rigging principals. No weights were known! Ropes were abused and misused. Blocks screeching and chirping during the lifts. Improper rigging supplied for the jobs at hand. Safety meetings were a hit and miss.

    No JHA’s filled out, No Lift plans, no pre lift meetings. I have witnessed antenna mast pipes with holes drilled in them being used as Gin poles. 40# of Material arriving at the tower top on the load hook in plastic buckets suspended by the metal handle. Defective Chain hoists in use. Crew leads, standing on loads suspended by the load line. The list goes on and on. I brought the practices to the attention of management, I informed them of the 1019 standard, they said it was noted but nothing was done about the practices. To many good old boys running the show, protecting there good old boy electrical buddies. Meanwhile jeopardizing people’s lives.

    The new style of tower companies of today seem to be contributing to the increase in incidence in the industry. Companies with deep pockets are getting into the game with no experience at all. I just read about a company that put 2 fellas on a tower with a Gin Pole with almost no experience. And they were killed. I think the problem is Lack of Respect for the tower worker. The new style company has no culture or experience to draw from. No way to coddle and nurture a new hire. Because they don’t respect the experience and discipline it takes to do the job safe.

    I hope and pray the TIERAP Program gets off the ground and is a Positive solution to our industry environment. An apprenticeship program will be a wonderful way to season a new man. As it is in the electrical field. I say bring it on, and put the respect, back in to this industry.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2014
    walleye 1 likes this.

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