Home' Facility Perspectives : Vol 11 No 2 Contents 56
FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2
| MAINTENANCE + ESSENTIAL SERVICES
It is important to understand that RF
awareness is crucial to safe work practice
when working around antennas. RF radiation
exposure may result in headache and
cataracts (Boulais, 2015). Some believe that
it may also affect gender offspring ratios
due to its effect on sperm motility (Boulais,
2014). Furthermore, RF radiation may also
have an effect on metallic implants and body
implants, such as pacemakers, and pumps,
such as insulin pumps (Boulais, 2014).
Findings and recommendations
A total of 30 high-access window-cleaning
companies were approached in confidence,
and a senior operational level manager was
interviewed to determine their company’s
awareness and risk-control knowledge of
this hazard. Of those 30 companies, only 15
(50 per cent) demonstrated an awareness
of the risk.
Of those 15 companies that demonstrated
awareness, they could all describe relevant risk-
control measures. This demonstrates sound
risk-management practice where the hazard is
identified. For facilities managers, this suggests
that a great deal of contractors working around
potential exposure zones on their facilities
may not have any knowledge or awareness of
the hazard and its risk. It may be the case that
some facilities managers themselves have little
awareness of the hazard and its risk.
While it is recommended that window-
cleaning companies always seek independent
specialist safety advice, the following
suggested control measures may assist in
the development of risk assessments and
safe work method statements (SWMS).
Facilities managers should take note of
the following points to best assist them with
their role in understanding and controlling
the potential hazard:
3 Sign in to the site via site management
or security before entering a rooftop
area. Ensure that access points to
restricted areas are locked as required
when leaving the area.
3 Comply with any warning signage in
relation to RF radiation hazards that
identifies or marks areas as hazardous
3 Ensure that the entry door to the
rooftop is kept locked at all times,
especially when leaving the site.
3 Always remain fully aware that RF
radiation hazards exist in rooftop areas
and, as such, may not be within marked
RF radiation zones.
3 Never walk or work in front of an antenna,
noting that RF radiation sources are
often outwardly directed and away from
building perimeters. Always aim to walk
behind panel antennas and microwave
3 Do not enter RF radiation–marked zones
unless you have been properly trained and
certified in RF radiation awareness.
3 Always report problems within marked RF
radiation hazard areas, such as damaged
installations or signage.
3 Always maintain a high level of
housekeeping on a rooftop, as items may
blow down onto the areas below.
3 Remain aware of live antennas that may
be mounted on the sides of buildings,
and never work or pass in front of
them (unless it can be confirmed by the
respective telecommunications carrier that
the sector/antenna has been isolated).
3 Consider contacting telecommunications
carriers prior to works (where required)
to have relevant sectors isolated.
3 Consider having workers externally
trained in RF radiation awareness – such
training may be completed online.
3 Consider an investment in RF radiation
monitors, which can alert workers to RF
risks at various exposure levels.
Within the high-access window-cleaning
industry, buildings with RF installations are
not likely to be an everyday occurrence, as
not all buildings are located in favourable
locations for telecommunications reception.
This in itself may present a risk, where
workers need to remain aware of the risk and
act accordingly when the hazard presents
itself. Many of the larger telecommunications
companies require their contractors to be
trained in this hazard (RF EME awareness);
hence, in my experience it’s the non-
telecommunications contractors that may
need be queried in relation to their risk-
control approach to this hazard on a facility.
For facilities managers, this becomes an
issue where their facility has such
installations mounted. It is clearly evident
from this study that high-access window-
cleaning companies need to become fully
aware of this invisible, silent hazard, and
implement measures to best control it. It is
highly advisable that facilities managers aim
to gain a sound level of knowledge of this
hazard, and ensure that their contractors
have knowledge and are applying correct
risk-control principles when working around
antennas on their facility.
BOULAIS. D, 2014. ‘RADIOFREQUENCY RADIATION AND ITS
EFFECTS ON SEX DETERMINATION’. JOURNAL OF HEALTH, SAFETY
AND ENVIRONMENT. VOLUME 30(2) 325–329.
BOULAIS. D, 2014. ‘RADIOFREQUENCY RADIATION – A HEADACHE
FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS RIGGERS’. JOURNAL OF HEALTH,
SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT. VOLUME 30(3) 423–429.
BOULAIS. D, 2015. ‘RF RADIATION AND NEAR FIELD AWARENESS’.
JOURNAL OF HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENT. VOLUME
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