The FCC and all cellular providers say that the new 5G is safe for humans. No studies have shown a problem thus far, but what about the workers who have to do installation, maintenance and emergency service? Read on to see what is going on to protect those who need to be close to the new high frequency waves.
The FCC’s Maximum permissible exposure guidelines apply to 5G and cover the 5G frequency. On August 1, 1996, the Commission adopted the NCRP’s recommended Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits for field strength and power density for the transmitters operating at frequencies of 300 kHz to 100 GHz. 5G spectrum is between 24GHz to 47GHz and is therefore covered by the MPE limits. Telecommunication workers that may become exposed to Electro-Magnetic Energy (EME) and Radio Frequency (RF), are covered under OSHA's general duty clause and a host of consensus standards. Some of the organizations that may provide guidance for occupational exposure in the telecommunication industry are the FCC, NCRP, ANSI and the IEEE. The most common documents used for the industry consensus are the ANSI/ IEEE C95.7, which defines RF Safety Program training requirements and the ANSI/ASSE A10.48 -2016 the Criteria for Safety Practices with the Construction, Demolition, Modification and Maintenance of Communication Structures, which is under current subcommittee revision.
Here are some questions regarding the 5G upgrade and how it may differ from previous generations.
1. What are the employers responsibilities for protecting the employee?
The employer has the ultimate responsibility to protect the worker from over exposure to RF and EME primarily through OSHA and the A10.48 - 2016. Under the standard the employer must create a RF Safety Program for their employees. The program must address Hazard Identification and Assessment, an inventory of all RF emitters, and the control methods used to eliminate or control exposure.
2. What are some methods used to control RF exposure on a jobsite?
The hierarchy details five methods of varying effectiveness for controlling occupational hazards through targeted strategies geared toward reducing risk of illness or injury within the workplace. Commonly, workplaces will combine all five methods of control to ensure thorough protection, even in the event that a single, high-level control mechanism fails. The five controls, in order, are:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
3. Will my current RF monitor work for 5g?
There are many types of monitors available for purchase. To determine if your RF Monitor is will function with 5G equipment up to and potentially beyond 24GHz, check with your monitor manufacturer. There are two common monitors available for use with the 5G field. The FieldSENSE FS 60, and the Narda RadMan 2 XT, both read H & E field between 50MHz and 60 GHz. Always check for calibration of the monitor before use.
4. Do employees need to re-train on 5G if they have already attended a class?
Yes, all effected employees will need to be trained and if there is an update to the employers program, or assessment method or an equipment change, all employees must be re-trained on the changes.
5. Is 5G Safe?
According to current research and studies, if RF exposure is within the FCC guidelines for maximum permissible exposure, it’s safe. Knowing and ensuring you are within those guidelines takes training and understanding. An RF Program needs to be a part of the employers health and safety plan for those who work in and around 5G.
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