December 11, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> MTA Accepting Exhibitors and Sponsors for 2016 Annual Convention

Informational Items

FirstNet Board Approves Release of RFP

Safety Corner

>> OSHA’s General Duty Clause: What Does it Mean?

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Joe Flannigan
Administrative Assistant:
Anne Christensen

Stay up-to-date on daily happenings at the MTA offices by following us on Facebook. From peer group meetings to annual conferences and everything in between, get the scoop on what’s happening at our offices!




Meetings and Events

March 21–23, 2016: MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show


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MTA Updates


MTA Accepting Exhibitors and Sponsors for 2016 Annual Convention

MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and network with more than 1,100 professionals from throughout the Upper Midwest. Register to exhibit at the 2016 Annual Convention today! It is a "do-not-miss" opportunity to showcase your company, products and services.

Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Prospectus | Register Online to Sponsor or Exhibit

Plan to join us on March 21–23, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. The MTA Annual Convention has continued to be the largest state telecommunications association convention in the nation. It represents the interests of more than 80 small, medium and large telecommunications providers that provide advanced telecommunications services like voice, data, wireless video, and high-speed Internet access to Minnesota’s metropolitan and rural communities.

Register for your booth space today!

The convention is a great way to get your message out to this group and the support of our exhibitors and sponsors is what makes this convention possible. Consider becoming a keystone of our pinnacle event! Multiple levels of conference sponsorship opportunities are available. By popular demand, Vendor Demos are back and will be located in the middle of the exhibit hall this year.

If you have questions about the exhibitor or sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Wolf at the MTA office at or (651) 265-7849.

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MTA Convention Registration Coming in January


FirstNet Board Approves Release of RFP

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board approved the Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) and directed management to take all necessary actions to release the RFP in early January. The Board’s approval advances FirstNet's Strategic Program Roadmap and moves FirstNet a step closer to establishing a public-private partnership to build, operate, and maintain the NPSBN.

“This is a landmark day for FirstNet and public safety,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “By approving the RFP, the Board has taken a major step forward to deliver a mission-critical network that first responders deserve – one that is dedicated to public safety, is secure, sustainable, and will continuously utilize state of the art technology across America.”

FirstNet Vice Chair Jeff Johnson said, “We engaged in an open and transparent process to develop this RFP from the start and met our goal of completing it by the end of the year. I commend the Board and FirstNet staff for their dedication. I also recognize the valuable contributions of our stakeholders who provided us with feedback every step of the way,” Johnson said. “FirstNet is looking forward to receiving competitive offerings from industry to build the network.”

The FirstNet RFP is objectives based and incorporates public safety’s needs for a nationwide broadband network. Central to this approach, FirstNet issued multiple Requests for Information, Public Notices, and Special Notices for public comment. FirstNet also collected vital stakeholder feedback on the RFP documents through consultation and outreach with public safety partners nationwide.

“This is truly a public-private partnership model,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “With this model, FirstNet achieves operational sustainability and public safety receives the network and services it so deserves.”

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Safety Corner

OSHA’s General Duty Clause: What Does it Mean?

There are so many standards in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that sometimes we get confused or frustrated paging through more than 1,000 pages of small print looking for a standard that addresses an area of concern that we have. In addition to all these standards, there is one requirement that covers all hazardous conditions even if you cannot find a standard on it, the General Duty Clause (GDC). It is Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

On the surface, OSHA’s general duty clause seems to be very simple to understand:
"Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the General Duty Clause. If there are actual injuries occurring or a situation that could lead to an injury; if there are actual illnesses among workers or a situation that could lead to a disease or illness; or a situation that just doesn’t seem right - then there is a possibility that these situations violate the General Duty Clause regarding safety and health, even if there isn’t a standard pertaining to it.

However, for OSHA to issue a citation under the General Duty Clause a number of issues must be present:

1. There must be a hazard: Upon inspection the OSHA compliance officer must find that workers are indeed exposed to a hazard that the employer has failed to prevent or remove.

2. There must be a recognized hazard: The hazard must be a recognized hazard, meaning that the employer knew or should have known about the hazard in the situation, the hazard is obvious or it is a recognized one within the industry.

3. The Hazard Could Cause or Is Likely to Cause Serious Harm or Death: The hazard must be serious, meaning that there is a substantial probability serious physical harm could result if the employer does not eliminate the hazard. This is applied fairly broadly, and can include any potential impairment of the body that affects life functioning on or off the job (usually requiring treatment by a medical doctor), whether temporary or permanent. Or there could be any illness that significantly reduces physical or mental efficiency, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

4. The Hazard Must Be Correctable: Finally, the hazard must be correctable - there is a feasible and known way for the employer to correct, eliminate or at least materially reduce the hazard through a physical means, administrative controls or safety training.

Hazards are all recognizable, for practical purposes anyway. OSHA’s communication over the past few years has stressed hazard awareness, and the agency has published information aimed at helping employers predict or recognize hazards, such as confined spaces or fall protection.

In addition, OSHA considers recognizable any hazard that has been recognized within the employer’s industry, or governed by that industry’s standards. In essence, OSHA is saying that if others in our industry know about the hazard, then it’s your job to know about it, too.
So besides listening to Safety Consultants, reading industry journals, talking with peers and searching through the OSHA regulations, Listen to your employees. Workers often know better than anyone the hazards they face. Do everything possible to ensure open lines of communication, never allowing an employee to suffer negative consequences when reporting a hazard—even a big one that would be costly to remedy.
Take Care,

Dan Berg
MTA Safety Consultant

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