Profitable Technical Management of Your Building's Telecommunications Systems

Sept. 17, 2001
OSHA and FCC Compliance

Although utilizing rooftop space as a telecommunication site is an effective means of increasing revenue, it should be emphasized that such additional revenue does not need to result in an increase in liability or safety concerns. Strict adherence to the rules and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), minimize safety and liability concerns. To ensure compliance under the OSHA and FCC regulations, property owners and managers should be very cognizant of their responsibilities to maintain an environment that ensures the safety of workers, tenants, and the general public.

The first practical step for a building owner or manager to ensure federal and local compliance is to have a radiation hazard study performed at their site by an experienced and qualified RF engineering firm. This study will determine if the emissions from the rooftop antennas exceed the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) standards set forth by the FCC. See Figure 1 for a graphical representation of the FCC exposure limits. If it were found, upon completion of the study, that MPE limits are not exceeded on the rooftop, the primary concern would then be to ensure that any prospective telecom tenant's system transmission would not place them over the MPE limits. To guarantee this, a property owner or manager should mandate that any prospective rooftop tenants complete a thorough RF study prior to the installation of their system. A comprehensive RF study will examine interference as well as safety issues. An informed property owner with a well-managed telecommunications site will have this study performed at the prospective tenant's expense. The proposed new tenant should only be allowed to install their system if the safety and interference studies have established that no interference or hazard conditions will be created as a result of adding their system. This measure will ensure that OSHA and FCC regulatory compliance rules are met with the inclusion of the new system. It will also establish compatible telecommunication operations at the site. However, if it is found through the course of a RF study, that there are areas on the premises that exceed the FCC's MPE limits, it is OSHA that becomes the governing body with whom property owners and managers must concern themselves. From this point, there are procedures that are mandated by OSHA to mitigate any potential hazards posed by RF emissions.

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