© 2017 By Radiofrequency Safety International

Over 2 Centuries of RF Experience on Staff

FAQ Answers

1. This law does not apply to me, why should I do anything? (Catagorical Exemptions)

Point 1. The FCC stated, "All licensees must comply with the MPE limits given in Section 1.1310 of the rules, there are no exceptions. Categorical exclusions are given to those licensees that under most situations would not cause a compliance problem by themselves. They are still bound by the MPE requirements though. As soon as the licensee co-locates with another, the licensee must take into account existing fields caused by these entities. If there are areas that exceed 100% of the applicable limit then those that are contributing more than 5% of the applicable limit are responsible for compliance. The last licensee to a site is always responsible for making sure that fields they add (even if under 5%) will not cause the site to become non-compliant." The only sure way to know if you are within the standards is to conduct an MPE.
Catagorical Exclusions

Point 2. In the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA) RF Workshop of October 23, 1997, PCIA concluded that "Categorical Exclusion" from performing a "routine environmental evaluation" does NOT mean the subject antenna will comply with FCC rules on human exposure to RF fields.

PCIA concluded that: "Even if antennas are categorically excluded from environmental evaluations, RF fields in their vicinity can still exceed the MPE limit for worker exposure. Categorical exclusion does not relieve the licensee from an obligation to comply with the MPE limit. In fact, unless the licensee takes appropriate measures to mitigate potentially excessive worker exposure at a categorically excluded antenna, the facility will technically not be in compliance with the FCC human exposure rules."

Point 3. In a letter form the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) dated April 8, 1998, in an addendum to the article "EME Design and Operation Considerations for Wireless Antenna Sites" ......CTIA states:......"Contrary to the rules of the FCC, OSHA's regulations apply to all employers with employees who may be exposed to strong RF fields in the course of their work, irrespective of whether the employer is an FCC licensee or not." Finally, OSHA has stated that it will apply the revised rules of the FCC in citing employers for violations relative to RF exposure. All wireless operators, site managers and site sub-contractors are encouraged to initiate, if they have not already done so, an RF safety program within their companies to insure compliance with both the FCC and OSHA requirements."

Point 4. The FCC states that the Environmental Policy Act of 1969 does not allow "grand fathering." If you renewed before October 15, 1997, there is a "cut off" date of September 1, 2000, at which time all of the FCC's licensees must be in compliance.

Point 5. Furthermore, on applications for radio transmitters the licenses state: "Applicant certifies that grant of this request would not have a significant environmental effect as defined by 47 CFR 1.1307, including compliance for applicable standards for human exposure to radio frequency radiation."

The box underneath the above statement on the application form states: "Willful false statements made on this form are punishable by fine and/or imprisonment (U.S.C. Title 18, Sec.1001), and/or revocation of any license or construction permit (U.S.C., Title 47, Sec.503)." 

IN Summation: OSHA states that there is no "categorical exclusion from OSHA" for any transmitter that exceeds the FCC MPE limits.

The only way to have liability protection from fines or lawsuits (if you are not in compliance with MPE) is to conduct, at a minimum:
• An MPE analysis
• Have a written safety plan for your sites and shops, and
• Train your workers.

 

2. What if I don't own or control the site? I'm only a licensee?

The FCC states: "The key trigger with respect to our RF exposure rules is the existence of an accessible area where RF field levels will exceed our MPE limits." (FCC 97-303, par 70)

FCC 97-303 also states: "Responsibility is to be shared among those transmitter facilities contributing above the 5% threshold at a non complying area." FCC 97-303 (in other words, site MPE data is mandated)

Furthermore, If you are collocated with another transmitter that renews after October 15, 1997 and you contribute more than 5% of the applicable guideline to the area in question, you must also come into compliance with the new guidelines at that time.

...the Commission has concluded that “responsibilities pertaining to RF electromagnetic fields properly belong[] with our licensees and applicants, rather than with site owners.” If in fact Infinity signed away rights that would have enabled it to meet its obligations under the rules, the Commission certainly would not consider that a mitigating fact in Infinity’s favor. (FCC 04-281)

But our policy encouraging collaboration does not insulate licensees from enforcement action for violations. In neither the Rules nor the RF Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, does the Commission suggest that anything other than the “traditional enforcement model” be used with respect to a licensee that has willfully and repeatedly violated the Commission’s rules. (FCC 04-281)

MPE​

3. How can the FCC do inspections on my site without needing a Search Warrant?

FCC has the right to inspect ALL covered radio equipment at any time... The FCC agents have the authority to inspect all radio equipment; even if you do not have a license, the FCC can still inspect your equipment or site without unnecessary delay.

One of the requirements as a licensee, or non-licensee subject to the Commission's Rules, is to allow inspection of your radio equipment by FCC personnel. Note (as required whenever the FCC feels there is a need to). Whether you operate an amateur station or any other radio device, your authorization from the Commission comes with the obligation to allow inspection. Even radio stations licensed under a "blanket" rule or approval, are subject to the Commission's inspection requirement.

 

4. I'm just a contractor working at sites. What can I do? What do I need to know?

At the National Association of Tower Erectors annual conference in San Diego, 1997, the voting membership voted that, as a part of an OSHA acceptable tower climber program, "All certified tower climbers must receive RF safety training". 

OSHA CFR 1910.268 (c) states in part: "Where training is required, it shall consist of on-the-job training or classroom-type training or a combination of both. The employer shall certify the employees have been trained by preparing a certification record which includes the identity of the person trained, the signature of the employer or the person that conducted the training, and the date the training was completed." With the new RF MPE standards safety training is now required.

Contractors must be responsible for worker safety as outlined in OSHA regulations. Contractors whose workers may be exposed to RF radiation as a part of their employment should prepare a written safety plan that outlines the steps needed to guard against exposure to RF radiation. This plan should account for both routine and non-routine operations. RSI can prepare a written safety plan for your company. 

You should also implement a written RF safety plan with record keeping to ensure that non-essential personnel do not enter controlled areas. Anyone, including all employees, entering a controlled area must follow the established procedures to ensure their exposure to RF radiation is below the allowable exposure level. 

Personal Protection Monitors and equipment should be employed when in RF radiation areas. Employees that use personal protection equipment must be trained in its use, and the training must be updated annually as part of the overall written safety plan as per the OSHA Personal Protection Equipment regulations. ( RSI has the only complete RF training program in the industry.)

Hazard Assessments

5. What if I'm a site owner, not a licensee? 

The FCC states that " a site owner can determine whether a licensee will be able to erect a fence to limit public access in areas where the uncontrolled RF exposure limits may be exceeded. For sites where there are multiple licensees, the site owner may be able to encourage the licensees to cooperate to find a common solution to problems caused by multiple transmitters." In addition, the site must meet all OSHA regulations, and the site owner must provide a safe environment for workers and the general public.

OSHA Head Getting Serious About Site Safety

May 01, 2003 @ 2:11 EDT 

John Henshaw was the key note speaker at NATE in Feb. and told the group that he would be signing a letter stating that Equipment Owners and Site Owners/Managers would need to SERIOUSLY CONSIDER contracting with companies that have “real safety programs”. RSI has made these statements for years. Under multi-employer workplace law you are the responsible party. Your group might be the Creating, Exposing, Correcting or Controlling employer or you could fill multiple roles under OSHA and therefore be the responsible party. It puts ALL Licensees and Site owners on notice.

WASHINGTON-John Henshaw, head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has urged major U.S. mobile phone operators and tower owners to hire only those construction firms that have proven safety records and that follow federal guidelines. 

In an April 18 letter obtained by RCR Wireless News, Henshaw said industry cooperation is needed to address “a serious problem in the communications tower industry” that has claimed more than 150 lives over the past decade. 

“I ask that you seriously consider contracting only with tower erection companies that have excellent safety and health records and that you require in your contracts the following: (1) the erector comply with all OSHA requirements, and (2) all contracts with subcontractors contain the same provision,” Henshaw stated. “In addition, these contracts should contain strong language regarding the importance of good safety and health programs, employee training and education, and fall prevention and fall arrest systems.”


Also under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) if the site is required to have an FCC tower registration number it must not jeopardize or threaten any one or any species (RF safety is now part of 47 CFR 1.1307-1.1319) and the owner of the site must certifies that the facilities do not cause exposure in excess of the limits specified in the CFR and 2.1093 (Signage also applies here). Note: Failure to comply with Tower Registration is the most cited rule in the telecommunications industry leading to up to $100,000's of dollars in finds to site owners last year.Additionally, the site owner or other entity could be issued citations under multi-employer workplace CPL 2-0.124.

The FCC has been issuing fines

Jun 28, 2002 @ 5:08 EDT 

The FCC has been issuing fines at an astonishing rate to AM Broadcast tower owners that do not meet 47 CFR §73.49 et al concerning the requirements for fencing around AM towers.

47 CFR §73.49... “Antenna towers having radio frequency potential at the base (series fed, folded unipole, and insulated base antennas) must be enclosed within effective locked fences or other enclosures. Ready access must be provided to each antenna tower base for meter reading and maintenance purposes at all times. However, individual tower fences need not be installed if the towers are contained within a protective property fence”.

Make sure you know the requirements for your tower. We have RF induced contact current/induced current warning signs available for your AM or FM broadcast site.

Safety Training

6. What do I have to do to ensure worker safety on my tower site?

Survey it: FCC statement: Some licensees have determined, by calculations or by other means that they comply with the limits for the general public and have then assumed that they are fully compliant with our exposure limits or otherwise categorically excluded from further action. In these cases, licensees have often not considered their responsibilities to ensure compliance for workers who many have access to areas in close proximity to antenna sites. 

 

With respect to fixed transmitters, we (FCC) have found in implementing our RF exposure guidelines over the past several years that in some cases licensees have failed to take note of the fact that they are responsible for compliance with both the controlled limits as well as the general population/uncontrolled limits.

 

Because RF energy is now recognized as a physical hazard, you must consider worker’s and the public’s exposure when planning operation at communications sites, or for that matter, any location where RF energy may be present. 

 

An MPE maybe enough to meet FCC requirements in the far field but in the near filed on the tower, it does not meet the requirements. The FCC requires occupational and general public testing and modeling is not effective in the near field. When someone is on the tower, there are a number of factors involved that the MPE does not calculate. The FCC ran a test case on this in HI and found that the MPE produced results within the limits but when the FCC took actual readings the actual level was above the limits. Information on recent citations can be found on the FCC webpage. OSHA does not accept modeling for any type of known hazard in an occupational work space. RF along with noise, heat and cold stress, hand arm vibrations, laser, ionizing radiation, microwave, and ultraviolet radiation are all physical hazards. OSHA will only accept real world actual testing. 

 

Therefore to meet FCC and OSHA standards actual hazard assessments must take place. If it is found that the MPE is over the limits outlined in the government standards, action must be taken. This may include equipment changes, an environmental assessment, and/or a safety plan. Companies, contractors, government, shops, and sites are all included in having to comply. A general safety plan must be formulated, and employees must be trained. Also, if employees are exposed to RF radiation at any time as part of their employment, they must know the potential hazards associated with RF as part of the OSHA "Right to Know" concept.

 

7. What do I need to do to come into compliance as an equipment owner?

At a minimum, all transmitters, MUST HAVE AN MPE ANALYSIS (those at multiple-user sites must understand the 5% responsibility rule, Part 47 on license form). If it is found that the MPE is over the limits outlined in the government standards, action must be taken. This may include equipment changes, an environmental assessment, and/or a safety plan. Companies, contractors, government, shops, and sites are all included in having to comply. If a general safety plan is formulated, employees must be trained. Also, if employees are exposed to RF radiation at any time as part of their employment, they must know the potential hazards associated with RF as part of the OSHA "Right to Know" concept.

8. What is an MPE evaluation?

A Maximum Permissible Exposure evaluation is a formula that takes into account several different variables associated with energy emitted from a transmitter and antenna. RSI has created an efficient computer program that can give the correct MPE data in an instant. The data is then printed out as a concise and easy to understand graph with a written explanation of the result of the evaluation. The data is submitted on an easy to understand RSI EME Emissions Inventory™ questionnaire provided by RSI. The RSI EME Emissions Inventory™ is quick and painless.

MPE

Safety Training

 

9. My antenna is on a 1000 foot tower on a mountain. Why should I do anything?
The FCC states: "All FCC licensees, even those categorically excluded or below radiated power and height criteria, are expected to be in compliance with the FCC's exposure limits. (RSI note: one must at least know the MPE to meet this definition)… It is the responsibility of all the licensees with co-located transmitters to ensure that individual contributions of each transmitter do not cumulatively exceed the Commission's limits in an accessible area. Exposure to RF levels below these levels is considered to have no detrimental biological effect by expert standards bodies such the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) or the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP)".

Summation: Therefore, at a minimum, the telecommunication company must know their transmitter's MPE, and if they have workers near or on that tower at any time for servicing the antenna or transmitter, the workers need to have knowledge of the potential hazards under the OSHA "Right to Know" concept, and should have personal protection equipment to guard against exposure to RF. These components should be part of a general or site safety plan.

MPE Evaluation

Categorical Exclusion

 

10. Do I have to power down at all times when working at my site?
In certain RF environments, it may be inconvenient to power down or otherwise limit the amount of RF from the antennas. It may then be necessary to use additional RF protection devices such as RF suits or RF protective clothing. If these suits are employed, the worker may experience an increase in fatigue and overheating due to the weight and characteristics of the suit. If these suits were to be used the personnel using the suits would require extensive training.

Safety Training

Personal Protection Equipment

 

11. Don't RF Monitors protect me from strong RF fields?
RF Personal Monitoring Equipment (PPM)

  • Are not designed for - nor should it be used to take measurements

  • Require proper training of personnel per OSHA, but do not protect you from the hazard, they only provide you with a means of warning

  • Provide continuous monitoring in an area or for an individual only (no protection).

Caution - Wearing an approved personal RF monitor can only provide you with a means of warning yourself of RF field strengths that may be above the standards. RF monitors can be a useful tool, but they may tend to give you a false sense of security. You should never totally rely on an RF monitor, but instead use it in conjunction with your knowledge of RF safety. Many telecommunications sites have a wide range of styles of equipment, from PCS, cellular, and broadcast to high-energy microwave transmitters. The personal monitor that is chosen must be compatible with the environment that you are working in (i.e., the correct frequency range).

 

Personal Protection Equipment

 

12. When should I use PPM's?
Personal monitors will be reviewed on an individual basis. If personal monitors are used, the appropriate training will be provided at that time. Even units with limited frequency ranges can be very effective in alerting the user of potential RF sources. If those sources fall within the monitor's frequency range (i.e. a stand-alone cell phone site at 900 MHz using a PPM with a frequency range of 50 MHz to 2 GHz.) then with appropriate training the limited range PPM would be appropriate

PPM Available from RSI

  

13. Who is required to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE and PPM's) (RF Suits and Monitors)?
OSHA has interpreted its general PPE standard, as well as specific standards, to require employers to provide and to pay for personal protective equipment required by the company for the worker to do his or her job safely and in compliance with OSHA standards. Where equipment is very personal in nature and is usable by workers off the job, the matter of payment may be left to labor-management negotiations. Examples of PPE that would not normally be used away from the worksite include, but are not limited to: welding gloves, wire mesh gloves, respirators, hard hats, specialty glasses and goggles (e.g., designed for laser or ultraviolet radiation protection or RF monitors), specialty foot protection (such as metatarsal shoes and linemen's shoes with built in gaffs), face shields and rubber gloves, blankets, cover-ups and hot sticks and other live-line tools used by power generation workers. Examples of PPE that is personal in nature and often used away from the worksite include non-specialty safety glasses, safety shoes, and cold-weather outer wear of the type worn by construction workers. However, shoes or outerwear subject to contamination by carcinogens or other toxic or hazardous substances which cannot be safely worn off-site must be paid for by the employer. Failure of the employer to pay for PPE that is not personal and not used away from the job is a violation and shall be cited.

 

14. What is a Qualified Trainer?
QUALIFIED TRAINER - certified by a competent & qualified person to be able to adequately train, educate, & monitor the company safety program.

Advanced Train the Trainer

  

15. Do workers need training to use personal protection equipment?
With the passing of the OSHA Personal Protection Equipment Law, (PPE), employees must be protected from hazards and have available the use of the right type of Personal Protection Equipment. RF Energy is now classified as a physical hazard; RF Personal Protection monitors are included in this definition.

The "Personal Protection Equipment" standard stipulates that employees have access to and use personal safety equipment supplied by the employer. This includes hearing and eye protection, respirators for hot work, and if in an area with the potential for exposure to electromagnetic energy, RF monitoring equipment. It is the primary responsibility of the employer to provide training to the workers on the use of the equipment. RF monitors require training in their use to the same degree (competent and qualified) as is required for any other personal protection equipment (PPE). For example, it is not enough to simply give a novice tower climber a harness. Climbers must have adequate training in how to use the harness, thus giving themselves confidence in their own training and qualifications.

If a company purchases RF monitors or suits, even before the first use of the equipment at the job site, the employees must be trained and show that they are competent and qualified in their use. This training must be updated as required. It is the employer or their designated person's responsibility to routinely inspect the work area in order to monitor and abate possible or existing hazardous conditions in the work area. It is the responsibility of business owners to know all the factors that affect their employees in their business. This includes the safety regulations of various government agencies.

OSHA GENERAL STIPULATIONS: SUMMARIZED

All employees must use Personal Protection Equipment devices that are relevant to the specific task they are involved in. Before initial use of said equipment, the employee must be trained in the use of the equipment, and demonstrate that they are competent and qualified in the use of the equipment. The training must be updated as required.

 

16. Does RSI offer tailor made Safety Plans?
RF Safety Plan RSI Corp has developed an online RF Safety Plan. This customizable solution helps organizations achieve OSHA compliance by formulating a company specific plan that can be saved or printed. This plan will act as the base of a RF program. OSHA requires a comprehensive RF program, to include training and this easy to formulate customized document will provide you with the requirements necessary to achieve the complete program. Once you input your information, the plan will tell you exactly what you need to achieve a successful RF safety program. For more information see: Online Safety Plan

For the RF Safety needs of your organization/site, RSI will work closely with you/your staff to develop a company specific comprehensive RF Health & Safety Plan. RSI will begin the project by reviewing any existing safety policies that are already in place for your organization. Performing hazard assessments for the pre-determined “worst-case” sites will be the next step. RSI will then provide written documentation for the FCC and OSHA outlining how your program was developed. The following issues will be considered during preparation of an RF safety plan:

  • Radio frequency radiation (RFR) safety procedures, which will include:

  • Procedures for adding new transmitters to a site

  • Procedures when working in RF radiation areas

  • Proper use of RF personal protection equipment and monitors

  • Procedures when monitors are triggered

  • Procedures for identification and control of RF hazard areas

  • Company RF safety procedures

  • OSHA competent person designation

  • RF Safety inspection checklist

  • Non-routine tasks, which will provide a brief outline of significant issues not addressed elsewhere in the plan

  • Provisions for ensuring and notifying subcontractors regarding potential RF hazards and ensuring that they understand and commit to comply with your RF safety plan


RSI can also assist organizations/sites with a site owner letter addressed to all tenants and contractors and execute a mail out as a third party with ongoing follow up as needed.

Site Specific Safety Plans (Customer sites)
RSI can prepare Company Site Specific Safety Plans for your sites. RSI will work with your staff to establish an effective and cost efficient plan to handle site specific needs once data is acquired and a general safety plan has been completed.

General Safety Plan
For the overall safety needs of your organization/site, RSI will work closely with your staff to develop a specific comprehensive comprehensive General Health & Safety Plan. RSI will begin the project by reviewing any safety policies & procedures that are already in place for your organization/site. RSI will then provide written documentation for OSHA outlining how your specific program was developed. The following issues will be considered during preparation of a general safety plan:

 

  • Personal Protective Equipment

  • Fall Protection

  • Environmental Awareness

  • Contractor Accountability

  • Hazard Communication

  • Equipment & Tool Safety and Inspections

  • Job Hazard Assessment & Analysis and Task Planning

  • Hazard Recognition & Communication

  • Lifting, Handling and Storage of Material

  • Incident (near miss)/ Illness/ Accident/ Exposure Reporting

  • Respiratory Protection

  • Slips, Trips and Fall Protection

  • Commitment to Accountability and Responsibility in the Workplace

  • Provisions for ensuring and notifying subcontractors regarding potential RF hazards and ensuring that they understand and commit to comply with your RF safety plan


It is important that within the Organizational Structure the following personnel are available, and are involved in the implementation and enforcement of your Safety Program (inclusive of RF Safe Work Areas):
 

  • COMPETENT AND QUALIFIED TRAINER - Certified by a competent & qualified person to be able to adequately train, educate, and monitor an OSHA regulated company safety program.

  • DESIGNATED PERSON - Competent and qualified person selected to perform a task involving employees in the work place.

  • AUTHORIZED PERSON - A person meeting the qualifications and is competent by the regulatory standards to work. This person can also direct work in a work area containing possible or real hazards to an employee.


RSI is dedicated to the field of RF Radiation Safety Consulting offering complete programs and training. The RSI staff continues to provide the best overall services in the telecommunications industry in this field.

17. What fall protection standards apply to my group when working on a Roof or Tower?

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/Const_Res_Man/1926m_interps.html

18. What recordkeeping actions took place on January 1, 2002 and what is a OSHA 300 Form? 

https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/entryfaq.html

19. What makes a person 'Qualified', 'Competent', 'Designated' and/or 'Authorized'?
QUALIFIED PERSON - a qualified person is one who, by possession of recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, experience, has successfully demonstrated their ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work or the project.

COMPETENT PERSON - one who is capable of identifying existing and potential hazards and has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

DESIGNATED PERSON - competent and qualified person selected to perform a task involving employees in the work place.

AUTHORIZED PERSON - a person meeting the qualifications and is competent by the regulatory standards to work and/or direct work in the work area containing possible or real hazards to an employee.

Safety Training 

 

20. The FCC Agent said that I had to allow inspection of my radio station without unnecessary delay. What does 'without unnecessary delay' mean?
Immediate on-the-spot inspections are generally necessary. In most cases, any delay can result in changed conditions of the transmitting equipment or its operation, adversely affecting the efficacy of the inspections.

For that reason, Agents cannot return at a later time to accommodate the operator, cannot wait for the operator to make any adjustments to the equipment, cannot wait for an attorney or supervisor to arrive or cannot spend time repeating the reasons for the inspection.

 

21. My boss didn't tell me anyone would come by to inspect our radio so I don't have to let the FCC inspectors in, right?
Wrong. The licensee is responsible for knowing the rules and those include the FCC's right to inspect. Because the employer is responsible for the acts of the employee, it is up to the licensee-employer to inform its staff as to its responsibilities concerning the operation of the radio station.

Both licensees and non-licensees must allow an FCC Agent to inspect their radio equipment. Along with the privilege of possessing a license come responsibilities such as knowing the applicable rules, including allowing the station to be inspected. Licensees should be aware of the Commission's right to inspect. Equally important, FCC Agents are allowed to inspect the radio equipment of non-licensees.


Section 303(n) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, (Act) gives the Federal Communications Commission the "authority to inspect all radio installations associated with stations required to be licensed by any Act.

 

22. What hazards could a tower site impose on nearby construction sites?
Construction workers need to be aware of the dangers that communications and broadcast towers can create hazards.

As it happens, the local utility, Hawaiian Electric Co., had hired RSI to train its workers on radiofrequency exposure safety. Some of the workers had gleaned from the class knowledge about induction from communications towers. Though thoroughly familiar with the phenomenon of induced current, or induction related to 560 kilovolt, 60 hertz power lines, the phenomenon of induction of energy from nearby broadcast or communications antennas was new to them.

 

23. I have less than ten employees. Am I exempt from OSHA regulations?
No. You may be exempt from the record keeping provisions, in some States, if you have less than 10 employees, however, you are not exempt from OSHA. 29 CFR 1904.17 does have wording for exemption from record keeping for organizations with less than ten employees, however, everyone MUST provide a safe work place for their employees.

24As a large broadcast entity, why should I do anything?

As a condition of licensing, nearly all licensed broadcasters should have been compliant with the new RF Safety rules by Sept. 1, 2000. The rules have become more stringent. One fact has remained constant: Broadcasters must take action to ensure that people are not exposed to radio frequency radiation (RFR) in excess of the FCC limits. OSHA (on both state and federal levels) has become more actively involved in the industry. The new NATE/OSHA partnership agreement mandates that 10% of the sites that NATE (tower workers) members in this program work at, have inspections. These inspection reports can go to OSHA for review. Broadcasters should be aware of these new requirements and that their sites may be under inspection at any time.


Now, OSHA/FCC compliance requires broadcasters to create a written health-and-safety policy to identify potentially unsafe work areas that may expose workers to RFR levels above the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) level, and to develop safe working practices for anyone who needs access to those areas. OSHA considers the written health-and-safety policy the cornerstone of compliance (this is a must). The overall purpose of the written document is to adopt clear, concise programs (not just policies) on how the site will be administered, the use of PPE ,installation of signage, and the steps which will be taken to ensure worker safety (training and enforcement of the rules required).


It must include practical/real-world considerations for each site, including the training of workers and to adhere completely to the program.

Safety Training

John Henshaw, head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was the key note speaker at NATE in Feb and told the group that he would be signing a letter stating that Equipment Owners and Site Owners/ Managers would need to SERIOUSLY CONSIDER contracting with companies that have "real safety programs". RSI has made these statements for years, Under multi-employer workplace law you are the responsible party. Your group might be the Creating, Exposing, Correcting or Controlling employer or you could full multiple roles under OSHA. Now this OSHA letter makes you the responsible party "IT Puts ALL Licensees and Site owners on notice". In an April 18, 2003 letter, Henshaw said industry cooperation is needed to address “a serious problem in the communications tower industry” that has claimed more than 150 lives over the past decade. “I ask that you seriously consider contracting only with tower erection companies that have excellent safety and health records and that you require in your contracts the following: (1) the erector comply with all OSHA requirements, and (2) all contracts with subcontractors contain the same provision,” Henshaw stated. “In addition, these contracts should contain strong language regarding the importance of good safety and health programs, employee training and education,”


Also on March 10, 2003, the FCC announced that it has revised its rules to strengthen the requirements for the submission of truthful statements to the Commission. As amended, section 1.17 of the Commission’s Rules prohibits written and oral statements of fact that are intentionally incorrect or misleading and written statements of fact that are made without a reasonable basis for believing that the statement is correct and not misleading. In requiring that submitters of written statements in fact-based adjudications and investigations have a reasonable basis to believe that what they say is correct and not misleading, the Commission is imposing on the submitters a duty of due diligence, including the duty to take appropriate affirmative steps to determine the truthfulness of what is being submitted. The new rule is a clearer, more comprehensive, and more focused articulation of the standards for truthful statements than the old rule. The Commission also said that the new rule will enhance the effectiveness of its enforcement efforts.


The FCC has re-committed itself to enforcement of its rules. Jerry Ulcek, one of the writers of OET 65, is currently leading an effort within the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau to develop inspection standards and educate enforcement personnel with respect to non-ionizing-radiation topics. The FCC is currently doing many reviews and has completed some new enforcement actions and this is just the start. 


In most multiple-licensee situations (antenna farms), there are no effective power-down agreements. When transmitting antennas are co-located, it is now required to have agreements with the other licensees regarding times or windows in which licensees and site owners can ask the others to reduce power so that maintenance operations can be performed safely. In densely-located broadcast sites, the RF energy from one station’s facilities can be at or above the MPE limits at a neighboring site. You may not be able to have someone safely climb a tower or work on your antenna without the cooperation of the another licensees. Most of the time the tower climbers who are told, " put on this RF Suit and do the work", “Just get it done, regardless of safety.” Too often, the cost of a delay associated with reducing power is considered ($$$), and the safety of the workers goes without regard. This situation must be eliminated through proper multi-user safety programs, outlining and defining the responsibilities of all parties.

 
25. Why do I need a written safety plan?
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSIONFCC 96-326 Washington, D.C. 20554 In the Matter of ) ) Guidelines for Evaluating the Environmental ) ET Docket No. 93-62 Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation ) ) REPORT AND ORDER

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has jurisdiction over Federal regulations dealing with worker safety and health. In its comments, OSHA generally endorses our proposal to update our RF exposure guidelines by adopting the new ANSI/IEEE guidelines. OSHA also urges us to require applicants to implement a written RF exposure protection program which appropriately addresses traditional safety and health program elements including training, medical monitoring, protective procedures and engineering controls, signs, hazard assessments, employee involvement, and designated responsibilities for program implementation. It notes that the exposure limits in the ANSI/IEEE guidelines may be useful in determining when specific elements of an RF safety program should be implemented. However, OSHA objects to the two categories of exposure environments contained in the new ANSI/IEEE standard, finding it unacceptable that employees may be subjected to a higher level of risk than the general public simply because they "are aware of the potential for exposure as a concomitant of employment." Rather, OSHA proposes that we adopt the uncontrolled environment criteria as an "action limit" which determines when an RF protection program will be required. That is, under OSHA's proposal, persons who are exposed in excess of the limits specified for uncontrolled environments would be protected by a program designed to mitigate any potential increase in risk.

RSI Corp has developed a new online RF Safety Plan. This customizable solution helps organizations achieve OSHA compliance by formulating a company specific plan that can be saved or printed. This plan will act as the base of a RF program. OSHA requires a comprehensive RF program, to include training and this easy to formulate customized document will provide you with the requirements necessary to achieve the complete program. Once you input your information, the plan will tell you exactly what you need to achieve a successful RF safety program. 

26. How Does the FCC Learn About A Rule Violation?
There are several ways that the FCC may learn about a possible violation of the Communications Act and the FCC's rules.


Complaints

In most cases, a violation comes to the attention of the FCC through complaints filed by another licensee, a competitor, consumer, or some other interested party. Complaints can be "formal" or "informal." Formal complaints must contain certain information required by the FCC's rules and may be subject to a filing fee. Informal complaints may be filed in letter format and generally must identify the name of the party alleged to have violated the rule, location where the company or licensee operates, the specific rule alleged to have been violated, and must describe the specific circumstances surrounding the alleged violation. Because the Communications Act imposes a time limit or "statute of limitation" by which the Commission may take certain enforcement actions (i.e., assess forfeitures) against specific violations, complaints should be filed as soon as possible following the alleged violation.


FCC-Initiated Inspections and Investigations
The FCC's Enforcement Bureau, primarily through its agents located in 25 different places through the U.S., often conducts inspections of FCC-licensed facilities. Rule violations are often uncovered during these inspections. The Enforcement Bureau also may conduct self-initiated investigations under certain circumstances.

Complaints of violations of the Commission’s RF Safety rules that involve an immediate threat to the safety of a member of the public or an occupational worker should be referred to the Communications and Crisis Management Center (CCMC) at: (202) 418-1122 Hours (24/7). 

reprint from FCC web site 

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/sed/rfse.html 

 

27. What does it mean if my contractor is in the OSHA Partnership?
If so your site may be audited. NATE/OSHA partners will be involved in the process of conducting safety audits to document that safety practices are being implemented according to the partnering agreement. Those audits are to be submitted to the NATE office on a quarterly basis for 10% of the projects being conducted by partnership companies. The audits must be conducted by a competent person on your job site. The President or CEO of your company then attests through their signature that the audits are a representative sampling of the audits performed by their company and are true and correct to the best of their knowledge.

The NATE/OSHA Partnership will also recognize participants as being among the safest companies in the industry.

The Partnership Inspection Checklist defines the best work practices that must be met by NATE members participating in this program, and establishes precisely what OSHA will investigate on the jobsite of a participating NATE member company. Ten percent of the companies participating in the NATE/OSHA Partnership will receive OSHA focused inspections each year to ensure that the established practices are being utilitzed.

NATE/OSHA partnering companies must have their crews and supervisory directors meet specific levels of training. All onsite tower personnel must receive OSHA 10-hour or equivalent training. The focus of that training must be specifically tower safety. Supervisory personnel for tower crews must obtain OSHA 30-hour training or its equivalent. Again the training is to be specific to the factors facing tower workers.

 

28. Why do people in the broadcasting industry need training?
This year marks the start of a four-year cycle for the filing of applications for renewal of licenses for radio and television stations
throughout the country. When a station's application is completed, the licensee is required to make certain statements about the station's RFR compliance with the Commission's environmental regulations.

Stations should not wait until their renewal application is about to be filed before performing an RF radiation evaluation.


Hazard Assessments
Since the last filing of a license renewal application the FCC/OSHA RF safety laws have changed, as well as other changes that may have occurred at or near a station's transmitter site. The FCC may have approved a power increase; the
antennas of other broadcast and nonbroadcast stations may now be located near the station's antenna structure; the station may have expanded its studio or parking lot closer to the transmitter; or housing may now surround the transmitter site. Depending upon the circumstances, a station might need to modify its facilities to increase the distance of its antenna from the ground, to reduce power, or to make other changes necessary to limit RF radiation exposure. Also training is required by both OSHA and FCC to work on any broadcast site
.


RF Safety Training
Accordingly, it is prudent to discover any problems now and work on a solution to resolve any problems, the FCC is doing enforcement now.

29. Is Extra Low Frequency (ELF) radiation a concern?
Yes, extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation includes alternating current (AC) fields and other electromagnetic, non-ionizing radiation from 1 Hz to 300 Hz. ELF radiation at 60 Hz are produced by power lines, electrical wiring, and electrical equipment. Current research has focused on potential health effects of magnetic fields because some epidemiological studies have suggested increased cancer risk associated with estimates of magnetic field exposure. Exposure to EMFs depends on the strength of the ELF at the source, the distance from the source, and the duration of exposure. The (ACGIH) has established occupational exposure guidelines for ELF radiation.

 

30. Should any state or local government agency also be contacted to determine the environmental effects of a situation listed under section 1.1307?
Yes. You should always contact any and all state and local government offices with responsibility over the effected area, as some of these offices share jurisdiction over the area with a federal agency. In addition, some states have environmental laws and regulations which may be more stringent than federal standards, and you must comply with all relevant laws in addition to the Commission's NEPA rules.

 

31. Should the EA address all the categories even if only one or two of those listed categories are actually effected?
Yes. The EA should be comprehensive in its analysis by discussing the reasons why a particular category is effected as well as the reasons why other categories are not effected by the proposed action. The substantial portion of the analysis, of course, should address the categories which are effected by the proposed construction.
http://wireless.fcc.gov/siting/npafaq.html


The FCC is required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to evaluate the effects of RF emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters on the quality of the human environment. The Commission's RF emissions rules are designed to protect public health by limiting the maximum amount of RF emissions to which a licensee's facilities, in combination with other sources of RF emissions, may cause workers and the general public to be exposed.


ALSO: Section 1.1307(a)(3) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §1.1307(a)(3), requires applicants, licensees, and tower owners (Applicants) to consider the impact of proposed facilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. s. 1531 et seq. Applicants must determine whether any proposed facilities may affect listed, threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats, or are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any proposed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats. Applicants are also required to notify the FCC and file an environmental assessment if any of these conditions exist. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) provides information that Applicants may find useful regarding compliance with the ESA.


Both FCC Form 601 (Application for Mobile Radio Service Authorization) and FCC Form 854 (Application for Antenna Structure Registration) contain question 28, which asks whether the licensee's proposed action may have a significant environmental effect requiring an EA. If the licensee indicates "NO" to this question, no environmental documentation is required to be filed with the Commission. However, the licensee should maintain all pertinent records and be ready to provide documentation supporting its determination that an EA was not required for the site, in the event that such information is requested by the Bureau pursuant to section 1.1307(d).


If, after consulting the NEPA rules, a licensee determines that its proposed construction does fall under one of the listed categories in section 1.1307(a) or (b), the licensee is required to notify that fact to the Bureau. The licensee must answer "YES" to question 28 on any of the FCC Forms, and attach an EA to the form filing. Once this question is answered "YES," the filing is treated as a "major environmental action."


Call RSI if you have any questions - 888-830-5648

 

32. Pacemakers and High RF Area. With regard to the issue of pacemakers, where does the liability issue begin and end?

Specifically, is it the sole responsibility of the facility to screen for pacemakers? What is the role and therefore the liability of the referring physician, primary care physician and others involved in the patients management? Have any of the cases of serious injury or death resulted in the filing of a malpractice suit - have damages been awarded, have cases settled out of court?

As to the questions pertaining to the legal liability (I presume you are not interested in my response to the ethical or moral liability), that is not an area in which I have, nor claim, any expertise. I therefore contacted a (plaintiff's) medical malpractice attorney (Craig Frischman, Esq. of Kapetan Myers Rosen Louik & Raizman, P.C., Pittsburgh, PA) here in Pittsburgh today and presented this question to him. He felt that a generic answer to such a generic question would be that in all likelihood, the referring and/or primary care physicians would typically NOT be held liable for an adverse outcome of scanning a patient that was subsequently found to have an implanted pacemaker, unless they had knowledge of the hazard and failed to act. The radiologist and the hospital/site, on the other hand, would certainly be prime candidates for him to pursue, as it is their responsibility to ensure that only patients on whom this test can be performed with a reasonable level of safety be permitted into the environment of the MR imager. The referring and/or primary care physicians are relying on the radiologist/MR site to know how the test is performed - and on whom it may be safely applied.

When I asked him regarding the MR nursing staff and/or MR technologists, he responded that their responsibility would depend upon their role in permitting the patient to come within the environment of the magnet. If those persons within the facility having responsibility to obtain a patient's history were professionals in the field for whom it could have been demonstrated that they should have reasonably been expected to be aware of the problems of placing a pacemaker patient into an MR scanner, they could certainly be exposed as well. This is especially true if they failed to obtain adequate historical information related to the hazard of a particular patient being exposed to the magnet. It is nonetheless obvious that liability in this case is very fact dependent.

As to the question regarding whether or not there have been any cases of serious injury or death which resulted in the filing of a malpractice suit, etc., there most certainly have been. Although I am not able to discuss the specifics of cases in which I have been asked to become involved, I would be comfortable stating that quite a few of which I am aware have settled out of court. The majority of the ones of which I am aware have been "gagged" or kept as silent as can be - for rather obvious reasons - relatively successfully avoiding potentially damaging publicity.
Finally, even when the adverse event has made it into what may sometimes be national news (e.g., literally published in the New York Times), financial/legal outcomes to such cases are often not readily publicly accessible.

E. Kanal
http://www.radiology.upmc.edu/MRsafety/q&a/pacer_liability.html

33. How safe is it to scan a patient with a tantalum steel plate in his head for a brain MRI?
The potential concerns for any implant or device that may be on or in a patient during MR imaging are several. There is the potential consideration of ferromagnetic properties of the device/implant which may result in translational or rotational sources upon it if placed within the "sphere of influence" of the MR imaging device. Further, there is also the possibility of induced voltages or currents within the implant by the time varying gradient or radiofrequency oscillating magnetic fields of the MR imager during active image acquisition. Potential safety considerations of this are that this may result in either neuromuscular excitation and/or heating of the device or adjacent patient tissues (the latter possibly being of sufficient magnitude to induce local thermal injury, or burn(s), in the patient).


It is possible to test for ferromagnetic properties of some implants, especially if they are sufficiently superficial (such as in this case) that they can be accessed via a powerful hand magnet. If no attractive response is observed, we would cautiously proceed with allowing the patient to slowly enter the environment of the MR imager (although at the same time informing the patient that it is important that they inform us immediately if they notice any feelings of pulling or tugging on the implant - or any unusual sensations at all). It is not possible to absolutely predict what voltages and/or currents might be produced by what implants with what imaging system, imaging protocols, etc. Nevertheless, experience (ours as well as that of others) has demonstrated that there do not seem to be reports of difficulties in this regard that have arisen as a result of scanning patients with metallic (non ferromagnetic) plates in their skulls. In the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, I have scanned numerous patients with such metallic
(non-ferromagnetic) plates - with no difficulties - since 1984/1985.


As long as we followed the guidelines described above, I would be willing to scan such a patient in my institution if the implant tested negative for ferromagnetic attractive effects.

E. Kanal
10/27/95

 

34. What are OSHA's inspection priorities?
Top priority are reports of imminent dangers -accidents about to happen; second are fatalities or accidents serious enough to send three or more
workers to the hospital. Third are employee complaints. Referrals from other government agencies are fourth. Fifth are targeted inspections - such as the Site Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on employers that report high injury and illness rates, and special emphasis programs that zero in on hazardous work such as trenching or equipment such as mechanical power presses. Follow-up inspections are the final priority.

35. What's the penalty for violating an OSHA standard?

OSHA penalties range from $0 to $70,000, depending upon how likely the violation is to result in serious harm to workers. Other-than-serious violations often carry no penalties but may result in penalties of up to $7,000. Serious violations may have penalties up to $7,000. Repeat and willful violations may have penalties as high as $70,000. Penalties may be discounted if an employer has a small number of employees, has demonstrated good faith, or has few or no previous violations. 

a) Any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates the requirements of section 5 of this Act, any standard, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to section 6 of this Act, or regulations prescribed pursuant to this Act, may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $70,000 for each violation, but not less than $5,000 for each willful violation. 29 USC 666. Maximum allowed criminal fines under this subsection have been increased by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, 18 USC § 3551 et seq., see Historical and Statutory Notes, infra.

 

(b) Any employer who has received a citation for a serious violation of the requirements of section 5 of this Act, of any
standard, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to section 6 of this Act, or of any regulations prescribed pursuant to this Act, shall be assessed a civil penalty of up to $7,000 for each such violation.

 

 

(c) Any employer who has received a citation for a violation of the requirements of section 5 of this Act, of any standard, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to section 6 of this Act, or of regulations prescribed pursuant to this Act, and such violation is specifically determined not to be of a serious nature, may be assessed a civil penalty of up to $7,000 for each violation.


(g) Whoever knowingly makes any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, report, plan, or other document filed or required to be maintained pursuant to this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000, or by
imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both.

36. Who must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses?
About 1.3 million employers with 11 or more employees-20 percent of the establishments OSHA covers-must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Workplaces in low-hazard industries such as retail, service, finance, insurance, and real estate are exempt from recordkeeping requirements.

For more information on recordkeeping:

http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/index.html

37. Do I need to put up an OSHA poster in my workplace? Where can I get a copy?

Yes, all employers must post the federal or a state OSHA poster to provide their employees with information on their safety and health rights. You may order a printed copy from the OSHA Publications Office at (800) 321-OSHA or download and print one from this website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/pubindex.list#3165

 

38. Why do Broadcasters need Site Safety Awareness Training?

Mathematical calculation, information on E and H fields and predicting RF compliance will be addressed in the training. Participation of attendees usually dictates how in-depth the training gets. This is not a dry class. Not only will this training address mathematical calculations, on-site hazard assessments and what equipment can be used to make acceptable ascertainment of compliance for FCC, but OSHA as well. You will have fun too. Issues of site restriction (fencing) and signage requirements, induced-contact current problems, backup batteries along with other site hazards will be discussed (i.e. chemicals, fuel-oil spills, biohazards, spiders, snakes, gators, birds etc.). We will also address new and pending FCC/OSHA requirements and how to handle FCC/OSHA inspections. It will address the new requirements in the FCC 303-S forms. The instructors are authorized OSHA outreach trainers that have 25 plus years experience in telecommunications industry. This course counts for continuing education points with the SBE.

Safety Training


39. What are the FCC's environmental siting regulations?

http://wireless.fcc.gov/antenna/documentation/sitingEnvironmental.html