NAVIGATING RF SAFETY

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Knowledge is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.

So you’ve read some general information about RF safety, but what does it actually mean to those of you on the front line, the RF technicians? Some employers are not properly arming their RF technicians with the necessary training and equipment. Soldier Hill Signal has your back.

The health effects of overexposure to RF Radiation are critical. Think of it as heating objects like a microwave does food. The body has a limited ability to dissipate excessive heat. There are things symptoms you can see like skin reddening and burns but then there are also things you can’t see or are not immediate like tissue damage. The eyes and testes are the most susceptible and likely to be damaged first. Better to be cautious than to become a statistic.


The good news is the exposure is not cumulative. If you follow proper safety protocol every single time, the heat is dissipated as soon as the exposure stops.


But it is imperative that these precautions are followed every time.  Some develop a false sense of security when they’ve done it a certain way many times and nothing bad has ever happened. Even without any apparent symptoms it doesn’t mean there isn’t underlying damage that may show up down the line.

 

What RF exposure level is safe?

The exposure limit is broken into two categories. The general public has a lower limit of .08 W/kg specific absorption rate (SAR) as they are unaware and cannot take precautions. For RF technicians who are aware of the risk and following safety protocol, the amount is a SAR of .4 W/kg. This whole body SAR is determined by dividing total power by total body mass. Keep in mind levels can be low at the start of work but can spike without warning.

 

How to protect yourself in the field. Stay Frosty.

Training is key to maintaining safety. Observe all safety signs and follow them implicitly. Respect the Antenna. Assume the antenna is always on. Before working on antennas, notify owners and disable transmitters.

The exposure is measured by 3 key factors.


Distance – maintain 6 feet of clearance from a single antenna, 10 feet of clearance from a group of antennas.

Duration Minimize exposure time, take breaks.

Intensity – wear an RF monitor. RF radiation is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. There is no way to measure it without proper equipment.

 

Never point or touch test equipment directly to an antenna.

Be aware of symptoms and do not continue working if you notice them. By the time technicians feel any symptoms they are already overexposed!


Navigating the 5g minefield.

Telecommunications equipment is becoming more widespread, exponentially so with the introduction of 5G, and with it increasing the potential exposures to RF radiation. Safety by both workers and employers is paramount in managing exposure to this invisible hazard.

Stay connected with Soldier Hill Signal for important updates and safety information.