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Exposure assessment of a complex RF environment.

Cardarelli-J; Lotz-W; Dowell-C; Finley-M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2005 May; :32
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was asked to provide technical assistance to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet in monitoring radiofrequency (RF) field strengths on a building roof that housed multiple antennas with various transmitting frequencies. Employees of a window-washing company expressed concern about their exposures to RF while conducting preparation activities on the roof. Some of the problems encountered were (1) a previous RF survey neither provided spatial-average measurements nor approximate work locations of the window washers, (2) power levels and transmitter locations had changed over time, and (3) determining the appropriate exposure limits that apply to this occupation. The challenges were (1) selecting and using the appropriate instruments to account for the different frequencies and power outputs, (2) reconstructing the power output conditions on the day of the suspected overexposure, (3) implementing an appropriate spatial-averaging technique, and (4) determining the appropriate measurement locations. The problems and challenges were resolved by (1) interviewing the window washers about their equipment, tasks, work duration, and locations while on the roof, (2) working with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the building management, and transmitter owners to gain access and adjust transmission power levels, and (3) using an instrument with a shaped-frequency response probe designed to mirror the appropriate standard. The need to characterize and assess potential exposures to non-ionizing radiation is becoming more important with the increased use and advancement of wireless technology and capabilities. This work illustrates that workers in occupations outside the traditional fields in non-ionizing radiation are also exposed to RF hazards. It also demonstrates the need to account for their potential exposures and to develop training specific to their needs. Exposure assessors will also be informed of the latest technology used to assess complex RF environments.
Exposure-assessment; Monitoring-systems; Occupational-exposure; Workers; Worker-health; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Radiation; Radiation-exposure; Radiation-effects; Hazards; Occupational-hazards; Environmental-hazards; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-factors
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California