NA&TSC's Response to FCC RF Safety Issue (Part 2)


RF radiation injuries can result from the lack of communication among wireless stakeholders

Original Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Para 193)

Assignment of liabilities and level of cooperation between property owners, managers, licensees, and subcontractors may be an issue when implementing a site safety plan. Section 1.1307(b)(3) already requires “licensees whose transmitters produce, at the area in question, power density levels that exceed 5% of the power density exposure limit” to share in responsibility for compliance. We propose that this shared responsibility for compliance, elaborated in the Order herein supra, also include responsibility for mitigating actions. We seek comment on the extent of the responsibilities of licensees. For example, what actions should be required when a transmitting antenna located on top of a building generates fields in excess of our exposure limits at an elevated location on an adjacent property that is occasionally accessed by service personnel? We also note that our jurisdiction for determination of liability with respect to towers used for communications purposes is not necessarily limited to just licensees. NCRP’s 2002 Letter Report emphasizes the need for building owners and managers to be involved in the implementation of an RF safety program. In its Appendices C and D, the NCRP’s 2002 Letter Report also offers examples of appropriate corporate policies, procedures, and lease language to aid compliance with our exposure limits. However, since it is ultimately the licensee that is responsible for compliance, we seek comment on how to better encourage cooperation between property owners, managers, and licensees in the implementation of RF safety programs.

NA&TSC’s Response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Para 193)

The NPRM further states “[w]e also note that our jurisdiction for determination of liability with respect to towers used for communications purposes is not necessarily limited to just licensees. NCRP’s 2002 Letter Report emphasizes the need for building owners and managers to be involved in the implementation of an RF safety program . . . . However, since it is ultimately the licensee that is responsible for compliance, we seek comment on how to better encourage cooperation between property owners, managers, and licensees in the implementation of RF safety programs.”

RF CHECK’s experience shows that cooperation is essential to a successful RF safety approach. The primary aim of RF safety rules should be to protect people against RF radiation injuries by promoting the cooperation needed to achieve this goal, not to assign blame to one party when injury occurs. Nonetheless, although such cooperation is “the right thing to do” to prevent harm, each entity involved will also be motivated to work collectively based on its own interests.

Employers must provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards such as RF radiation.

The regulatory motivation for site owners, managers and contractors is to stay in compliance with OSHA regulations so as to avoid agency citations. OSHA regulations clearly delineate specific actions that must be taken by employers “to provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards” such as RF radiation.” Even though the NPRM identifies the licensees as ultimately responsible for site compliance, the Commission should explicitly recognize that a licensee’s compliance with FCC rules does not displace the duties of a “controlling” or “exposing” employer under OSHA regulations.

The regulatory motivation for licensees is to stay in compliance with FCC regulations. Failure to comply may lead to FCC penalties and injunctive action. Furthermore, RF injuries may subject licensees to litigation from injured parties. In February, A.M. Best identified RF radiation from wireless industry antennas as one of the “Emerging Technologies that Pose Significant Risks with Possible Long-Tail Losses” due to such litigation.

American workers and their families support the National Antenna & Tower Safety Center solution.

NA&TSC Full Response to Original FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF)
Original FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF)


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