Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FCC, DOL Partnership Announced for Telecom Workers

Responding to a recent spike in telecommunications tower worker fatalities, FCC
© Sadura
and DOL announced a new apprenticeship program for telecommunications tower technicians. The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) is a public-private partnerships designed to improve worker safety and workforce opportunities. The program will develop DOL-credentialed apprentice programs for telecommunications professionals. The core belief behind the effort is that apprenticeships improve workplace safety and helps workers develop professionally.

The announcement follows 2 years of an upward trend in fatalities in the telecommunications industry, including 13 workers killed in 2013 and 11 so far in 2014. According to data from, the average number of fatalities associated with communications towers from 2003 through 2013 was 10 annually. The most fatalities occurred in 2006, with 19 total, while 2012 saw the fewest, with only 1 fatality recorded for the year.

Per the program’s official guidelines, “The mission of the [program] is to partner with government and industry stakeholders to promote safety, enhance quality, and enable education and advancement opportunities in the telecommunications workforce.”

"Saving workers lives starts by making sure safety is a key part of any training program,” says OSHA Administrator David Michaels. “I have no doubt that new tower technicians trained by TIRAP and the companies that employ them will provide a shining example for the whole industry, how for perform work safely and to make sure we don't see any more deaths."