SBA Communications Set To Require Climber Certifications [in U.S.]

Originally Published by agl Media Group
Author: J. Sharpe Smith

SBA Communications has announced its support for certifications performed by the National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA), which provides independent assessments of knowledge and skills and provides verifiable worker certification in order to enhance safety at wireless sites.

The certification programs offered by NWSA include two levels of telecommunications tower technicians for crew members who perform general construction activities with an emphasis on tower system installation, modification, maintenance and inspection of support structures used in telecommunications, including personal wireless communications, public safety communications, utility networks and broadcast. These two levels are defined as: Telecommunications Tower Technician and Telecommunications Tower Technician 2.

NWSA also offers the Foreman certification, which focuses on core knowledge, skills and responsibilities required of supervisors of crews performing construction, installation, demolition, and/or maintenance on communication sites in accordance with construction drawings and/or written scopes of work.

Additionally, the Antenna & Line (A&L) Specialty certification focuses on the fundamental requirements for installation, repair, troubleshooting and maintenance of antennas, transmission lines and mounts on communication structures.

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) applauded SBA for placing NWSA certification requirements in its Master Service Agreement contracts, according NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway.

“The NWSA is the industry’s certification organization that offers nationwide certification credentials that are portable for the worker and verifiable for the employer,” Schlekeway said. “By taking this step, SBA Communications will have greater assurance that their company’s valuable real-estate assets are upgraded and maintained in a quality and safe manner by skilled tower crews.”

In the coming months, industry leaders representing both NWSA and NATE will be asking other wireless carriers and vertical real-estate firms to follow SBA’s lead and require NWSA certification for personnel who work on their respective networks and sites, added Schlekeway.

Prior to climbing any SBA structure, all general contractors and lower tier subcontractors must meet the following guidelines and dates:
• Effective June 1, 2020: 25 percent of the company’s tower climbers must be NWSA TTT1 or TTT2 certified with a minimum of one certified technician on site.
• Effective February 1, 2021: 50 percent of the company’s tower climbers must be NWSA TTT1 or TTT2 certified with a minimum of two certified technicians on site.

In the future, NWSA will offer certifications for Structure Modification Specialty and Tower Rigging Specialty.

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