As the owner of a tower safety company, I am always wanting to look out for favorite person: my customer! They are the student, the contractor, and corporations. Tower Safety strives to enforce crucial safety behavior, but can only do so much without the help of everyone involved. Safety has to be a team effort! I recently received a call from a student that was fired for not risking his life to climb on an overloaded boom for a connector installation. The boom he was told to go out on and connect the fiber and coax connectors was overloaded with antennas/RRHs. He called asking if he did the right thing. He was honest with himself about acknowledging the safety elements he encountered and knew better being a student of Tower Safety.
This student called and spoke about how he trusted us in the industry and yet he was fired. He felt guilty for not performing the work, but did the right thing by standing for work place safety FIRST. Most typical firings are understandable – drugs, theft, fighting among peers, not performing up to qualified standards. This firing was different because he was doing what he should have done, acknowledging the hazard but in the process he lost his job.
I’d met this student 1 week prior to the call; he was a former forest firefighter and enthusiastic about learning. He was physically healthy and asked a lot of questions (always a good sign!). I was golfing for a wireless charity event (Dylan Eck’s Meals on Wheels) when I received the call. After seeing the situation, he was facing, he’d told his foreman he wasn’t going out on the boom; it concerned him for safety reason. He took a stand for what he knew was right! Unfortunately, the foreman called the owner of the company and he was fired.
There are several situations where something like this could happen. The construction owner may get the work done because the amount of money for COB (Cost of Business) is so miniscule, that everyone needs to take a certain level of risk. If that happens, the employee, knowing his safety or job could be at risk, has to choose. Having the proper training about how to assess a potentially dangerous work situation is crucial in this industry.
While this was an awful situation for everyone involved, it happens more often than you think!
As two days after this situation, we had a fatality in the industry from a boom. It gives me an eerie feeling that this could have been my student, and yet Tower Safety is creating an ethical difference in the wireless industry and impacting the lives we care about. While I might be able to get you a job tomorrow, I can’t get your life back. Tower Safety is more than job training; it’s helping people become better informed, better trained, and better prepared to face all aspects of the workplace, for the safety of their employers and themselves.
Safety in the tower industry is everyone’s job. Let’s continue to work together to properly train people before they go out in the field, be the kind of employers who respect the diligence of trained tower professionals when alerted to a problem, and support corporations who only hire trained, certified tower professionals for these jobs.