Safety Signage

Many wireless operators, tower sites and even state entities have begun to utilize specific policies when installing RFR safety signs on their sites. These policies are based on the OSHA 1910.145 standard and recent FCC and OSHA enforcements such as:

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2007/DA-07-549A1.html AND http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2007/DA-07-2138A1.html.

Below are two charts illustrating the difference between the old signage posting rules and the New FCC proposed rules:

PCIA BMP Chart          FCC Proposed Signage Chart

PCIA RF Signage Standards


Anytime a worker is in an area above the written standard, they are in danger of potential RF exposure. Workers must know before they go into an area of a potential existing RF hazards and must be warned so they can work safely around the hazard. This also requires a working site safety plan and proper lockout/tag out procedure along with safety signage.

Signage can only be installed after a thorough RF assessment has been conducted to determine what areas should be categorized as “Above Controlled limits” or “Above Uncontrolled limits” areas. Improper signage can risk FCC and OSHA violations. FCC and OSHA workers will ask for assessment reports when inspecting a site, especially upon seeing signage posted.

Other standards to follow are: OSHA CFR 1926.200 (a) states that signs shall be visible at all times & shall be removed when the hazard no longer exists and the ANSI standard for signs: The Signal Word shall be a 2” letter visible @ (300”) 25’.

PCIA Signage Standards

Proposed FCC Rulemaking

Color Coding Explained:

  BLUE is a notice
  In an area with a blue sign, levels MAY exceed the FCC Uncontrolled/General Population limits at times. There shall be no trespassing on this site and owners should note there may still be a possibility of RF leaks, temporary spiking in RF levels and a need of other signage to warn of potentially higher levels or other hazards. | OSHA CFR 1910.145
  YELLOW is a caution area
  (i) Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. RSI NOTE: The Uncontrolled Limit is OSHA's action limit. Note: This area is above the general public standard and you must be trained to work in this area under caution.
  WARNING (DANGER)
  (i) There shall be no variation in the type of design of signs posted to warn of specific dangers and radiation hazards. RSI NOTE: Above the Controlled Worker Standard. You can not stay in this area for more than six minutes at 100% exposure. The time is only three minutes at 200%.

RSI's live courses as well as our Virtual University courses cover current signage and lockout/tagout policy and procedures. Call toll free at (888) 830-5648 to speak with an experienced training consultant regarding live seminars in your area.

*These sign policies are based on FCC and OSHA signage enforcement (Consensus standards). Also listed are PCIA standards.

RSI 6401 is designed to instruct workers on safe work practices in and around an antenna site. These signs are 11" x 8.5" in size. 6401D is a vinyl decal with full self-adhesive back for mounting. Also available is a 6401ChSpA which is the same sign but written in both Chinese and Spanish (does not contain English translation).

FCC Proposed:
These should be used in conjunction with one or more RF Awareness signs. These signs shall be placed at the site entrance at sites that have in place an RF safety program specific to that site.

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RSI 6418 "WARNING" signs are 12" x 18" in size.

FCC Proposed:
These signs should be placed on any tower or structure below the areas that have been determined to have RF emissions levels that exceed the Controlled/Occupational RF limits or borderline Controlled-Occupational/Above Controlled areas.

PCIA Standard:

  • Sign location: Posted in advance of areas that have been determined to have RF emission levels that exceed the Controlled/Occupational RF limit or borderline Controlled-Occupational/Above Controlled areas
    • Example: This would include those areas with high power broadcast or paging, or areas within a few feet of most other antennas.
    • Appropriate for: Indicating a potentially hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in serious injury or death.
  • Color: Red heading band containing black “WARNING” text
  • Symbol:
    • Red exclamation point in black triangle next to “WARNING”
    • Radiating tower in red triangle with black outline
  • Additional language (descending)
    • BEYOND THIS POINT:
    • Radio frequency fields at this site may exceed FCC rules for human exposure For your safety, obey all posted signs and site guidelines for working in radio frequency environments In accordance with Federal Regulations on frequency emissions
  • Shape: vertical rectangle with rounded edges

RSI 6403 blue "NOTICE" signs are 12" x 18" in size. 6403.5 is 8.5" x 11" in size.

FCC Proposed:
These signs shall be posted at the point of access to the site such as at the site entrance gate or near the door to the equipment rooms, as under certain circumstances the RF emissions at the site or in the equipment room exceeds the general population exposure limits. Trained transient personnel working in an area with a blue "NOTICE" must be supervised by an occupational worker with proper training.

PCIA Standard:

  • Sign Location: Point of access to the site or physical barrier to the site
  • Appropriate for: Addressing practices not related personal injury
    • Example: Areas with no trespassing where RF leaks or temporary RF level spikes may occur, but not exceeding the average limits
  • Color: Blue heading band containing white “NOTICE” text
  • Symbol:
    • Radiating tower
  • Additional language (descending):
    • RADIO FREQUENCY ENVIRONMENT AREA
    • AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT!
    • Personnel proceeding beyond this point must obey all posted signs, site guidelines, and Federal Regulations for working in radio frequency environments In accordance with Federal Regulations on frequency emissions
  • Shape: vertical rectangle with rounded edges

RSI 6410 FCC Tower Registration Number signs are 18" x 12" in size.

FCC Proposed:
The posting should take place no later than the time at which lighting of the structure is first required. 47 C.F.R. 17.4 (g) States that the structure registration numbers must be displayed. Your group should ask "is this readily visible to someone who doesn't have access to the site?" If a location is conspicuous enough to post a "No Trespassing" sign or the owner's name and logo, then it is likely an appropriate place to post the Registration Number.

RSI 6414 Las muestras azules del “AVISO” de RSI 6414 serán fijadas actualmente el acceso al sitio por ejemplo en la puerta de la entrada del sitio o acercar a la puerta a los cuartos del equipo, como bajo ciertas circunstancias las emisiones del RF en el sitio o en el cuarto del equipo PUEDEN exceder los límites de la exposición de la población incontrolada/en general. Menos el de 20% del estándar controlado del trabajador. 6414 es 12” x 18” de tamaño. 6403.5 es 8.5” x 11” de tamaño. Estas muestras se hacen de un .005 polietileno con las esquinas y los agujeros redondeados para el montaje.

RSI 6404 yellow "CAUTION" signs are 12" x 18" in size.

FCC Proposed:
shall be posted in areas where the RF assessment has determined RF emissions may exceed the FCC Occupational Exposure Limits but by No More Than Ten Times (10x). These may include areas such as at the bases of communications towers where if personnel were to climb may find themselves in RF fields that exceed the FCC Occupational Exposure Limits. Yellow "CAUTION" signs should be posted on all controls or indicators such as chains, barriers, ect. No transient workers are allowed in areas with yellow "CAUTION" signs, and it is reccomended that all employees wear RF monitors and suits. Note: OSHA has stated that the uncontrolled criteria is the action limit for which a safety program should be implemented.(Potential Hazards)

PCIA Standards:

  • Sign Location: Areas where RF assessment has determined RF emissions exceed the FCC Uncontrolled/General Population exposure limit
    • Example: Base of a tower where personnel may find themselves in RF fields that exceed the FCC Uncontrolled/General Population limit, but are less than 100% of the Controlled Worker Standard under time-weighted average guidelines
    • Appropriate for: Warning against potential hazards that could result in minor or moderate injury
  • Color: Yellow heading band containing black “CAUTION” text
  • Symbols:
    • Yellow exclamation point in black triangle next to “CAUTION”
    • Radiating tower in yellow triangle with black outline
  • Additional language (descending):
    • BEYOND THIS POINT:
    • Radio frequency fields at this site may exceed FCC rules for human exposure For your safety, obey all posted signs and site guidelines for working in radio frequency environments In accordance with Federal Regulations on frequency emissions
  • Shape: vertical rectangle with rounded edges

RSI 6412 Competent Climbers Only blue "NOTICE" signs should be posted at any tower or structure which requires climbing. OSHA requires being tied off for all structures over six feet. 6412 is 12" x 18" in size.

RSI 6415 Las muestras de la “PRECAUCIÓN” del amarillo de RSI 6415 serán fijadas en las áreas donde el gravamen del RF ha determinado emisiones del RF excede los límites de la exposición de la población incontrolada/en general de la FCC. Éstos pueden incluir áreas por ejemplo en las bases de las torres de comunicaciones donde si el personal debía subir puede encontrarse en los campos del RF que exceden los límites de la población incontrolada/en general de la FCC, pero es menos que los límites controlados/ocupacionales. 20-99% del estándar controlado del trabajador. Nota: El OSHA ha indicado que los criterios incontrolados son el límite de la acción para el cual un programa de seguridad debe ser puesto en ejecución. (Peligros potenciales) esta muestra es 12” x 18” de tamaño y se hace de un .005 polietileno con las esquinas y los agujeros redondeados para el montaje.

RSI 6405 "WARNING" (OSHA Warning/Danger) signs are 12" x 18" in size.

FCC Proposed:
These signs shall be posted in advance of the areas that have been determined to have RF emissions levels that exceed ten times (10x) the Occupational Exposure Limits.(Danger Areas Above the Standard) This would include those areas with high power broadcast or paging or areas within a few feet of most other antennas. Note: Due to the risk of possibly serious contact injury, personnel that require access to areas where the RF emissions exceed the controlled limits shall have a higher level of training in how to control their exposure and limit excursions into the field to 6 minutes for 100% controlled limits, 2 minutes for 300% controlled limits, and 1 minute for 600% controlled limits. An RF safety plan with training is mandated for these environments. Warning signs will be orange, while Danger signs will be red.

PCIA Standard:

  • Sign location: Posted in advance of areas that have been determined to have RF emission levels that exceed the Controlled/Occupational RF limit or borderline Controlled-Occupational/Above Controlled areas
    • Example: This would include those areas with high power broadcast or paging, or areas within a few feet of most other antennas.
    • Appropriate for: Indicating a potentially hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in serious injury or death.
  • Color: Red heading band containing black “WARNING” text
  • Symbol:
    • Red exclamation point in black triangle next to “WARNING”
    • Radiating tower in red triangle with black outline
  • Additional language (descending)
    • BEYOND THIS POINT:
    • Radio frequency fields at this site may exceed FCC rules for human exposure For your safety, obey all posted signs and site guidelines for working in radio frequency environments In accordance with Federal Regulations on frequency emissions
  • Shape: vertical rectangle with rounded edges

RSI 6420 "INFORMATION" signs should be placed on all site access points, based on the recent FCC Proposed Rulemaking. This sign is 12" x 8" in size.

RSI 6416 Las muestras de “CUIDADO” rojas de RSI 6416 (peligro del OSHA) serán fijadas antes de las áreas que se han determinado para tener niveles de las emisiones del RF que exceden los límites o la frontera controlados/ocupacionales Controlled-Occupational/del RF sobre áreas controladas. (Zonas peligrosas sobre el estándar) esto incluiría esas áreas con la difusión o la paginación de la alta energía o áreas dentro de algunos pies de la mayoría de las otras antenas. Nota: El personal que requiere el acceso a las áreas donde las emisiones del RF exceden los límites controlados tendrá un de alto nivel del entrenamiento en cómo controlar sus excursiones de la exposición y del límite en el campo a 6 minutos para los límites controlados del 100%, a 2 minutos para los límites controlados del 300%, y a 1 minuto para los límites controlados del 600%. Un plan de la seguridad del RF con el entrenamiento se asigna por mandato para estos ambientes. 100% o excedente el estándar controlado del trabajador. Esta muestra es 12” x 18” de tamaño y se hace de un .005 polietileno con las esquinas y los agujeros redondeados para el montaje.

RSI RF Site Signage shall be used as an integral part of an overall site compliance plan. We recommend that should your site require the posting of signage, all personnel that find it necessary to pass the point of the posted "CAUTION" or "WARNING" signage shall be trained in how to control their exposure to RF energy as part of an overall written safety program (per FCC/OSHA recommendations). Ideally, signage shall only be installed after a thorough RF assessment has been conducted to determine what areas should be categorized as "Above Controlled/Occupational limits" or "Above Uncontrolled limits" areas. NOTICE: Be sure that you do not post the signs on the doors or gates as if they are in the open position they may be rendered inconspicuous.

Information Per (OSHA CFR Part 1910)

§ 1910.145 Specifications for accident prevention signs and tags. (a) Scope. (1) These specifications apply to the design, application, and use of signs or symbols intended to indicate and, insofar as possible, to define specific hazards of a nature such that failure to designate them may lead to accidental injury to workers or the public, or both, or to property damage. These specifications are intended to cover all safety signs except those designed for streets, highways, railroads, and marine regulations.

(2) All new signs and replacements of old signs shall be in accordance with these specifications.

(c) Classification of signs according to use -- (1) Danger signs. (i) There shall be no variation in the type of design of signs posted to warn of specific dangers and radiation hazards. NOTE: Above the Controlled Worker Standard.

(ii) All employees shall be instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary.(ie safety plans and training)

(2) Caution signs. (i) Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. NOTE: The Uncontrolled Limit is OSHA's action limit.

(ii) All employees shall be instructed that caution signs indicate a possible hazard against which proper precaution should be taken.

For additional signs or for other RF compliance services, call RSI at (888) 830-5648 or (620) 825-4600 today !