Is Quality the Real Safety Problem?

Quality standards should be an integral part of safety planning. It takes management commitment, employee involvement, training, and communication to be effective.  It was previously determined that barriers to safety were cost associated with training and enforcement, and barriers to quality were due to the lack of skilled workers. However, a research study examined the relationship between safety related incidents and the construction industry worker; it showed what many in the industry already knew: the two are strongly tied together.

Example:

  • Benefits of safety management reduce claims and workers’ compensation premiums.
  • Benefits of quality management create repeat customers and reduced work to be done over again.

A study published in the journal of Safety Science found a significant association between the safety lapses and non-conforming work at a large Australian contractor over a 31-month period. The findings from the study viewed the rush in completing work often causes workers and managers to take shortcuts adding additional hazards and risks.

The wireless industry has done a tremendous job improving the safety culture with the required training and certifications. BUT! Are we forgetting the amount of pressure these men and women have to get a site built? Carriers and tower owners have their own quality standards and then depending on the market, those quality standards could vary.

If safety and quality are to work together: why are the providers creating their own set of quality depending on the area? Safety is critical in our wireless industry and we have the rules and regulations of OSHA, ANSI, NFPA, ASME, IEEE—and yet we allow our wireless family to start working with no understanding of the quality requirements, often creating safety issues.

Possible suggestion: If the wireless industry wishes to keep the men and women employed as safe as possible, while increasing risk management as well, perhaps it would be in the best interest of all to combine safety and quality management training. As the study mentioned above relates, and other research has suggested, this could help avoid rework and decrease exposure to additional risks.

Maintaining high safety standards benefits everyone in the industry. Through quality training and stringent enforcement, all employees in the industry will benefit.

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The following are some of the quality requirements:

Color Codes, Close Outs( video/pics), PIM/Sweep, Labeling, Weatherproofing, Cable Ties/Lacing-Stitching/Fiber Paper/Snap in Cable Hangers, Grounding (lugs, circuit breakers, coax/waveguide, conduit, cable routes, panels, lugs, conductor installation, mounts, batteries, bar, surge arrestor, TMA, RRH, fencing ) Antenna Installation (Azimuth,  Mechanical  Down tilt & plumb, mounting hardware according to manufacturer), Electrical Meters, Connectors and Cabinet Installation, RRHs, GPS, RETs, Generators, Fiber Optics, Alarms, HVAC, DC Power Plant (AC/DC equipment breakers/Panels, Cables, connections, converters/rectifiers, cabling, wiring, painting, lighting, grounding), Switches, Ice Bridge, Exothermic Welding, Tower Inspection, Tape Drops, Signage, Site Security, and CLIMB/RIG SAFELY!!!