Radiofrequency Exposure PenaltyNov 22nd, 2015 | By EHS Journal | Category: Health and Safety, Quick Reads
Do you have wireless cell phone or broadband antennas on your properties? If so, this recent enforcement notice might apply to you. Although the monetary penalty was levied against the telecom company that owned the equipment, the notice highlights safety concerns that might be unmanaged at similar locations.
A large telecom company leases roof space on an office building that it does not own for the purpose of operating antenna panels and transmitters for wireless and broadband service. Although there are warning signs related to the hazards of radiofrequency (RF) on the roof entry doors, access to the antennas was not restricted, and building maintenance workers were unaware of the potential hazards of RF exposure. Building workers were also unaware of how they could obtain safety information from the antenna operator.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in November 2015 proposing a US$ 60,000 fine against the telecommunications firm.
According to the FCC notice, the company
… apparently has failed to adequately prevent public access to the areas immediately in front of the antennas for these stations where radiofrequency (RF) emissions exceed what is permissible for exposure to the general population…. [The company’s] inadequate warning signage and broken plastic barriers did not comply with the FCC’s stated expectations for restricting access to areas that present a potential public safety hazard…. Interviews with the property owner, manager, and maintenance staff revealed that neither they nor the Building’s contract or maintenance workers had RF exposure safety training. According to the property manager, she and other Building workers work on the rooftop, including the Antenna Area, from time to time, but due to inadequate signage and barriers, they are not aware of areas to avoid or steps to take to limit RF exposure.The Building owner complained to the agents that Building staff has difficulty gaining RF exposure safety assistance from the carriers that use the rooftop.
Photograph: Abstract by Ilker, Izmir, Turkey.