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RSI Corporation (Radiofrequency Safety International) Celebrates 20 Years
RSI has always been a safety company and their dedication to safety runs deep. It all started when co-founder Steve Walz opened the company back in his wife’s hometown in Kansas on September 1996. Their first client was in Canada and they have worked all over the world.
What exactly does RSI do? Steve says, “RSI is the leader in the field of radiofrequency emissions safety.” RSI has a variety of services to assist companies in this area. RSI can do RF Hazard Site Assessments, called electromagnetic hazard assessment reports; develop safety policies, plans and programs; MPE Analysis; Vertical Assessments; and provide various types of certified safety training. There are one-day awareness training seminars, train the trainer programs, and more intensive customized training for safety officers. RSI provides total site management and safety compliance services, including signage and documentation, and RF safety monitors.
RSI has grown from 5 employees to more than 40 today. Their instructors are located around the country but the company’s headquarters remains in the southern rural Kansas town of Kiowa.
From the start, Steve noticed from the industrial side the rapid growth in wireless communications. In order for those to work, however, there must be transmitters and antennas. The radiofrequency energy which these generate have safety implications, and there are federal safety regulations which cover them. The company helps businesses and agencies meet the radiofrequency safety standards and comply with federal regulations.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Miranda Allen now manages RSI. She is one of RSI’s original employees. She has worked for RSI as the Sales and Information Specialist, Director of Marketing, National Sales Manager, executive vice president and in January 2013 Miranda became CEO of RSI.
Under Miranda’s leadership, RSI has taught thousands of clients RF Safety through their monthly live webinar courses and now has more than 30 courses online. Since 2014, RSI has been the sole U.S. distributor for Microwave Vision Group (MVG) RF Safety Monitors and in 2015 was the world leader in the sale of the EME Guard and Guard XS. RSI has plans in 2017 to increase its product line of RF Safety monitoring systems by delivering a complete range of RF instruments to measure the level of exposure to the electromagnetic field.
RSI has worked with all of the major wireless carriers and has trained thousands of tower crews. “We offer safety courses designed and presented by credentialed experts who have decades of real world experience to deliver the safety solutions to the telecom industry,” said Allen. “The RSI courses meet the certification requirements for the major wireless companies, such as, AT&T, Verizon, Bechtel, Black & Veatch and other major carriers and contracting organizations.”
Since lawmakers, such as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, are raising concerns about the FCC efforts to ensure that those working in close proximity to cellular antennas are not exposed to dangerous levels of RF Radiation, RSI wants to expand on their two trademarks “Safety Through Education and Helping Clients Succeed.”
RSI’s future offerings are to expand their RF Hazard Site Assessments and Training.
“We want to protect not only the wireless industry’s trained RF technicians, but all workers (electricians, carpenters, HVAC technicians, firefighters) who may come in close proximity to antennas and be placed at risk of RF injuries,” said Allen.
With her 20 years as an executive telecommunications professional, Miranda Allen has launched an Independent Congressional campaign for the Kansas 4th District.
Allen understands how Telecommunications is impacted by numerous government rules. As a candidate that possesses vast knowledge of OSHA, FCC and EPA regulations, she wants to work with the telecom industry to advocate in enacting future successful reform.
“I have a commitment to advance our broadband networks and expand high-speed internet access to all areas across Kansas and the United States. We must keep the telecom technology evolving as it enhances our educational opportunities, makes health care more efficient and creates job growth,” said Allen.
Allen currently serves on the National Association of Tower Erector’s (NATE) Member Services Committee and is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
The “Original RF Safety Provider”
The RSI safety plans and programs have been written and evolved since the 1970s. It has commonly been said that RSI “wrote the book” on RF site assessments. In the same respect, RSI was the first safety group for RF Compliance in telecom and continues to be the industry leader for RF safety and compliance services. Many clients will turn to RSI for assistance because RF exposure is a safety issue and RSI is a Safety Company.
Crews that work on or near towers, broadcast sites, or rooftop antennas, are required to be trained in RF Safety. Certification RF Safety Training is the key to OSHA and FCC compliance.
When you start shopping around and enroll your team, be careful not to simply pick one that is quick and cheap. If you are in need for RF Safety Certification, you have a few choices. Some companies provide you with a course you can take in 20 minutes and get a piece of paper but is that what you want for your crew?
Is taking a class like this really protecting your employees
How do you know if the instructor is reputable?
What about the content, is it relevant information for the workers?
RSI CEO Miranda Allen instructs a class on RF Safety Training through a Webinar.
RSI CEO Miranda Allen instructs a class on RF Safety Training through a Webinar.
Just within the last month, RSI has enrolled over 400 students in its Live Webinar for RF Safety Certification Training.
RF Safety Certification should be taught by an OSHA Authorized Trainer. RSI uses knowledgeable OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainers for both the class design and for the training. RSI technical instructors are capable of answering any questions regarding RF Health & Safety issues.
The RSI Webinar helps participants understand the required steps to compliance by using industry best management practices. RSI’s real world experience will ensure this webinar is engaging, informative, and that attendees have the most current information about RF Safety. Have your questions answered by our expert instructor through chat features and get the same quality of live training with no travel costs.
RSI is the original RF Safety provider and wrote the book on survey techniques over a decade ago. We’ve always been a safety company and our dedication to safety runs deep. Our team consists of certified safety professionals that have decades of real world safety experience making RSI the only RF Safety provider with over a century of combined safety expertise on staff.
RSI was very helpful and professional leading up to and executing the training. The instructor was knowledgeable and presented the material clearly. I hope that my company and all companies learn from this RSI class and protect their employees from RF overexposure. I would recommend a training session by RSI to others. Nicholas Rettig – Tower Com Technologies
Class was informative and well planned. Thomas Hall – U.S. Forest Service
I learned a lot about RF that I didn’t know. This class is a great way to learn about RF, every company should do this type of training if you work on towers. Jose Luis Amaya – Tower Com Technologies
The last RF Safety training I attended was two years ago. Wow! A lot has changed. I can see why we need to keep on top of this on an annual basis. Regulatory changes as well as better information that is being learned about RF exposure. I am glad I have someone to go to that is keeping on top of this information for those of us in the industry. Neal Maben – U.S. Forest Service
I needed this training! Raphael Morales – NOAA
Taking a Live Webinar class has many advantages.
Time effective: It takes only 2 hours of your time. You do not have to worry about travelling and missing two to four days of your work, and you still receive the same learning outcomes as a regular course.
Cost effective: The registration fee is all it costs you. In the budget situation, this should be the best option to gain more knowledge without spending thousands of dollars in airfare, hotel, car rental, taxi, etc.
Convenient: You can attend a Webinar in your office or at home at your own convenience. Using a computer headset you can keep your Webinar quiet and not bothers others.
Easy to use: All you need to have is a computer with high speed Internet connection and speaker. All you need to do is to click on the link in the invitation email and start joining the Webinar. It cannot be easier.
Hot and applicable topics: Spend time to gain knowledge in the hottest and most applicable topics about OSHA, FCC, & the Telecom industry. This is a great way to improve your career.
Reputable and experienced presenters: Our Webinars are taught by highly qualified and expert Trainers with long term experiences in the field of RF Safety and Health.
Interactive: During the presentation, you will have a chance to ask questions and submit your feedback.
Our live webinar course covers:
Steps to Compliance
Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE)
OSHA’s Action Limits
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
RF Safety Monitors
Thermal Health Effects
OSHA & FCC Rules
RF Safety Plans
Tower/Antenna RF Signs
Time Weighted Averaging
Latest News Updates on Enforcement from FCC, OSHA, & the Telecom Industry
The webinar includes several reviews and an online final quiz. Upon completion of the course and a passing score of 80% the student will be given a training certificate record and a wallet card.
To learn more about the RSI Webinar and RF Safety Training, visit the RSI Webiste: www.RSIcorp.com.
When people think RF telecom safety, they think RSI
What is Radiofrequency (RF) Compliance?
Radiofrequency energy, or RFE, is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA), and has been deemed a physical hazard. In March of 2013, the FCC voted for an advanced review on various rules pertaining to implementation of National Environmental Protection Act, (NEPA), requirements in relation to RFE from radio transmission sites. This review included several issues pertaining to technical and semantic issues implementing NEPA updated and revised procedures from the previous 2003 proposals, the FCC also requested comments on whether or not its RF exposure limits and policies needed reassessment. Antenna site owners and operators need to take into consideration their workers exposure as well as the general public’s health considering their exposure to RFE. The most stringent area of the spectrum is frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 megahertz, at these frequencies the size of the wave closely resemble that of the human body which at that point acts like an antenna.
The Office of Engineering and Technology, (OET) bulletin 65 “Evaluating Compliance with FCC guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields” provides assistance in determining whether proposed and existing transmitting facilities, operations and devices comply with limits for human exposure to RF fields. This standard also provides examples of, and procedures on how to perform evaluations in these fields. Exposure to the general public as well as workers on towers and the exposure value in the form of percentage of the standard also have to be addressed. (Figure 1)
A guidelines and exposure limits by frequency chart, and a complete breakdown of exact exposure in milliwatts, (mW) per centimeter squared can be found on the FCC’s website. The controlled standard for or MPE, which is put in place for qualified or competent workers who can control their exposure and mitigate risks involved with RFE, due to briefings and specialized training, is higher than the uncontrolled standard which is for the general public and workers which may be transient, such as window washers or HVAC technicians, who do not know of the potential risks involved, and have not been properly trained in regards to the risks with RFE. The general public and transient worker, or uncontrolled, exposure limit is 20 percent, which is also OSHA’S action limit, of the controlled standard. As set in the American National Safety Institute, (ANSI), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, (IEEE), their C95.1 standard allows only 100 milliamps, (mA), of induced current in any working environment.
Best safe practices or sound engineering practices are acceptable procedures and methods for attaining compliance. Bulletin 65 from the OET does not establish mandatory procedures and practices; guidelines and suggestions for maintaining and evaluating compliance for carriers can be found here. Individual site plans and best safe practices are required for all existing and new sites, which can be provided by third party RF safety consulting firms. If an area does not fall into compliance with the FCC MPE guidelines, the licensee can be fined and corrective actions must be taken if they are emitting over 5% of their allocated MPE. Also if a tenant, antenna owner, building owner, the property managing entity or controlling company of a collocated antenna array is above the 5% ruling they can also be fined and forced to take corrective actions. Documentation of compliance may be requested by federal, state and local governing entities concerning cellular, WIFI, paging systems and BDA/DAS systems. If there is any of these areas that fall outside the parameters set by the standards, abating is required and may result in being fined as well.
Bringing a site into compliance can be performed by a series of steps involving; site evaluation, MPE measurements, modeling, analysis, and a site safety plan certified by a qualified or competent person. This will allow for the site owner and carrier, building owner and the property managers to ensure that they have a safe site for workers and the general public in all areas in and around the site of these antennas. Antenna towers that have RF potential at the base, such as AM broadcast towers, must have a locked fence enclosure and signage to be compliant according to 47 CFR § 73.49. Barriers, signage, locked doors and man proof ladders are ways to control access to areas that are above the controlled and uncontrolled limit of the MPE. Signage at antenna or tower sights should state the hazard before entry into the actual affected area. The individual site safety plans must be maintained on site or with the property managers or controlling entity, as well as a list of all hazardous material, as stated in the 29 CFR 1910.1200 standard, they may encounter on the site, and a list of contacts in the event of an emergency such as fire/explosion, extreme over exposure, slip, trips and falls. These site plans should be reviewed and understood by all personnel accessing the site and training may be required to remain compliant and for the safety of the workers, including a lock out/tag out program, so workers can work safely around antennas and perform periodic maintenance as required. Powering down of these antenna sites may be required as stated in the 29 CFR 1910.147, and in the licensees FCC broadcast forms 351A, and license form 351B, to mitigate the risk of possible induced or contact current burns or shocks. It should also state areas of high RFE and areas that may need to be avoided or entered only by trained personnel with personal RF monitors or proper personal protective equipment such as RF suites. Site surveys for towers must be maintained and accessible at all tower installations.
Over exposure to RFE takes on the shape as if getting sick, much like flu symptoms. The individual exposed may experience dizziness or vertigo, confusion, sweating, headaches and nausea, depending on frequency and your bodies relation it can also affect implanted medical devises and heat jewelry. RFE exposure is non-accumulative, therefore in the event of over exposure to RFE, a worker should immediately be removed from the area and closely observed, and once removed from the area the body will cool itself through natural processes.
Requirements of personnel working at broadcast site should be known through-out the operating or controlling company and at a minimum; be trained by an authorized and qualified person as defined in OSHA’s 1926.32 standard, authorized to enter the site facility, obey all posted signage and should assume that all antennas are active until power down or lock out/tag out has been communicated and verified with the controlling entity, never stop or work in front of antenna array, were a personal protective monitor, these monitors have precedence over any and all signage, required fall protection 100% when above six feet, and work in pairs as in a qualified person and competent climber. Any further questions can be answered on the FCC and OSHA websites, or on RSI’s frequently asked questions page at www.rsicorp.com. Contact RSI Corporation if you need assistance in understanding Radiofrequency (RF) regulatory compliance – Contact – RSI
Tower company leaders will ask, “Do I need an RF Awareness Safety Training Certificate; how long is it good for?”
The answer is yes and yearly RF training is the standard.
Under FCC rules, transmitter licensees have ultimate responsibility to ensure that their facilities do not result in impermissible radio frequency exposure to the public or workers. OSHA requires employers to guard workers against potentially harmful exposures.
Anyone who enters a telecom tower site, or who works around antennas located on or near utility poles and building rooftops, must have received training that meets the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.268(c), and they must also be properly protected from any RF radiation emitted from antennas. Appropriate RF safety training will teach workers to recognize RF radiation hazards and control their exposure.
Let’s take you back to April 30, 2014. That’s the date the Federal Communication Commission entered into a Consent Decree with Verizon to resolve an investigation and order Verizon contractors and employees working on the company’s rooftop sites to document their Radiofrequency (RF) safety training and required the RF Awareness Training be repeated annually.
This action came about as the result of an FCC investigation of RF exposure practices at two East Coast rooftop antenna sites. The subsequent enforcement action was resolved with a consent decree in which the company agreed to overhaul RF safety compliance practices and to pay the government $50,000. FCC Record: DA-14-561A1_Rcd.pdf
Many believe this was a ‘wake-up call’ for all telecom licensees and the subcontractors to tighten up their RF compliance practices. It has been the practice of OSHA to follow the lead of the FCC in RF safety matters.
A note on remaining current: It is not enough to just have training programs and written policies. They must be current, utilized, reviewed, and updated as necessary. A company with an out-of-date program is viewed by OSHA the same as a company without a program. —Steve Walz, Founder of RSI Corporation
FAQ Question: Is yearly EME radiation compliance required?
Federal run OSHA can make it cumbersome to find the answer to this question. You must fully understand several sections of the OSHA requirements and then refer back to the pertinent section to arrive at your answer. Also you must understand that RF could be call: EME/RFE/RFR/non-ionizing and several other labels but they all mean the same thing! The answer is Annual non-ionizing radiation training is required but the below will give you specific as to how to get this answer. 1910.268 (c)highlights training requirements and c (1) states harmful physical substance. In 1910.1020 requires right of access to relevant exposure records if an employee is subjected to a toxic substance or harmful physical agent in the course of employment. 1910.1020(e)(2)(i)(A)(1) requires a record which measures or monitors the amount of a toxic substance or harmful physical agent to which the employee is or has been exposed (this would be the RSI hazard assessment). 1910.1020(g)(1) states: Upon an employee’s first entering into employment, and at least annually thereafter, each employer shall inform current employees covered by this section. 1910.132 (d) require a workplace hazard assessment to determine if hazards are present, or likely to be present, and select the appropriate type of PPE. OET 65 page 9 list the two tiers of exposure which are the controlled and uncontrolled. The FCC states on Page 12 “all transmitting facilities and devices regulated by this Commission that are the subject of an FCC decision or action are expected to comply with the appropriate RF radiation exposure guidelines.”
1910.1020 (g) (1) mandates providing the information to the employees yearly. Even if the site is in compliance, ongoing and yearly sampling is required to prove exposure levels and compliance. 1910.1020(e)(2)(i)(A)(1) This is the same requirement as noise or other particulates. Yearly sampling is needed as changes could have occurred that you are aware of or not aware of. Such things as shields/guards being removed, detuning, leaks, dye changes, line speed variations, new equipment, grounding, element changes, ambient condition changes, voltage changes, peak loads, other process changes all of which could affect spurious radiation and therefore must be reviewed at least annually or when a known change has been made.
Many state run OSHA have specific requirements and make it easy to see RF training is required annually. For Example: MN states it in their Right to know section. Since most companies work in multiple states industry best management practices dictate the yearly requirement. Also many major carriers require yearly training. Not all OSHA States make it easy to understand that annual RF training is required but luckily RSI industry experts are able knowledgeable and can interpret the OSHA standards for you. Realize annual training is a minimum, but may not be enough, as training is to be provided as often as necessary to provide a safe workplace.