FCC Mandates Contractor RF Training, Annual Retraining
The Federal Communications Commission has ordered that all Verizon contractors and employees engaged on the company’s rooftop sites shall receive documented RF Awareness training by 30 August 2014. It also requires that this RF Awareness training must be repeated annually. The consent decree is in effect into at least 2016.
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 (FCC# EB-FIELDNER-12-00004011) in which the company agreed to overhaul RF safety compliance practices and to pay the government $50,000.
LBA CEO Lawrence Behr believes that this may be an FCC “shot across the bow” for all wireless licensees to tighten up their RF compliance practices. He also said that “Inclusion of contractors in the order seems to reflect recent OSHA concerns over third party safety liability and accountability in the tower industry.” It has been the practice of OSHA to follow the lead of the FCC in RF safety matters.
Although no recent injuries or deaths have been attributed to RF maximum permissible exposure violation incidents in the tower industry, the death toll from tower climbing accidents has focused concern on all wireless industry safety practices. 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.