NATE draws 1,600 to tower construction trade show
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EIA Revision G
Speaking at one of the breakout sessions, David Brinker, vice president of engineering at Rohn Industries, Peoria, IL, gave an extensive summary of “Revision G” to the EIA standards for tower construction, including explanations of wind and ice loading. The new standards are much more complex than the existing standards and will require much more detailed analysis and calculations to engineer new towers and modifications and extensions of existing towers.
The revision, which continues to be developed by working committees, may be adopted as early as next year. Brinker said that allowable loading for many towers in urban areas might increase under Revision G because many additional variables and new loading standards may take into account factors previously not included. But he said designs that would use “default” characteristics probably would find the new standard more restrictive than the existing standard.
Mark A. Lies II, an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw, Chicago, spoke to the tower erectors about the liabilities associated with the “multi-employer workplace.” He warned employers not to begin work with a handshake contract. In fact, he warned them not to begin work before a written contract is signed because if a matter connected with the work should lead to court, a judge might rule that the employer waived all rights under the contract.
He explained that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a directive on Dec. 10, 2001, about the multi-employer workplace that details the steps that the federal agency would take when inspecting a tower work site and when interviewing tower construction employees.
He recommended that an employer should check the OSHA Web site to verify that information posted there reflects the employer’s true record, especially if the employer has citations that might inaccurately be classified. Customers who use the site to check tower construction companies might be put off by a bad, yet inaccurate, record.
Lies said that when OSHA investigates an injury or fatality, the agency doesn’t have to give Miranda warnings because it doesn’t place anyone under arrest. Nevertheless, information it gathers could be used in a criminal prosecution.
“If you have problems with your safety program, you could be incriminating yourself” by talking to an OSHA representative investigating an incident, Lies said. “You can say you’ll find out the answer later, or you can remain mute. And don’t make up false documents or put safety equipment in place that wasn’t there before the investigator arrived. If you do, there’s no place for you to go,” he said, except possibly to prison.
“Employers have legal rights during an OSHA inspection. Consult with legal counsel in the event of an inspection of an accident to ensure that employer and employee rights are protected and that crucial evidence is preserved,” Lies advised.