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The Importance Of Radiofrequency Safety Into Occupational Safety Coursework

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Technologies in Manufacturing Education - I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1435.1 - 12.1435.15



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Paper Authors

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Leslie Pagliari East Carolina University

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David Batts East Carolina University

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Lawrence Behr LBA Group

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Kenneth Dingle Allvac

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Importance of Radiofrequency Safety into Occupational Safety Coursework


Many consumer and industrial products and applications make use of some form of electromagnetic energy10. One type of electromagnetic energy that is of increasing importance worldwide is radiofrequency (RF) energy, including radio waves and microwaves, which is used for providing telecommunications, broadcast and other services. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizes or licenses most RF telecommunications services, facilities, and devices used by the public, industry, and state and local governmental organizations. According to law, “the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to evaluate the effect of emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters on the quality of the human environment”3.

Because of its regulatory responsibilities in this area the FCC often receives inquiries concerning whether there are potential safety hazards due to human exposure to RF energy emitted by FCC-regulated transmitters. The FCC states, “at the present time there is no federally mandated radio frequency (RF) exposure standard. However, several non-government organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) have issued recommendations for human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields.”4 Using these standards, the FCC has created a de facto federal standard under 73CFR1.1310 under which it enforces “maximum permissible exposure (“MPE”) limits applicable to facilities, operations, or transmitters.” OSHA specifically recognizes RF hazards in OSHA standard 29 CFR §1926.550 (a) (15) (vii), Cranes and Derricks, but fails to set in place any standards. It also provides a general discussion of a variety of RF hazards on its web site, but defers to the FCC for guidance on maximum permitted exposures17. However, the Canadians are much more specific on these matters, and a wide ranging set of standards and regulations are set out in the Health Canada Safety Code 69.

Typical safety programs, both undergraduate and graduate, do not explore issues related with RF hazards and safety. Without federal regulations and enforcement, the topic is usually disregarded and thus creating future safety professionals without any knowledge of the possibilities of RF hazards at the future employment. This paper will discuss what is radiofrequency, how radiofrequency is used, regulatory agencies and compliance issues in regards to radiofrequency and finally research of Safety, Health and Environmental programs across the United States.


Pagliari, L., & Batts, D., & Behr, L., & Dingle, K. (2007, June), The Importance Of Radiofrequency Safety Into Occupational Safety Coursework Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2103

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