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Construction safety group aims to raise awareness of RF radiation exposure

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Silver Spring, MD – The Center for Construction Research and Training (also known as CPWR), together with the Roofing r2p Partnership and the RF Radiation Work Group, have developed the Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation Awareness Program for the Construction Industry, intended to inform employers and labor organizations about the risks of radiofrequency radiation.

The program includes a PowerPoint presentation, a video, a hazard alert card and a toolbox talk available in English and Spanish, as well as a guide that details hazard assessment and how to find regulations and guidance documents.

Employees who work on roofs, sides of buildings and other structures near radiofrequency-generating devices such as cellular antennas may be at risk for exposure to radiation. According to the partnership, the amount of radiation generated can spike without any warning, and risk increases based on the number of devices, the proximity of the worker to any device and how much time is spent near the device.

Health effects include blindness, burns and sterility, CPWR cautions. A hazard alert from the organization advises employers to train their workers to:

  • Be aware of the hazard, identify devices and abide by instructions on signs and barriers.
  • Keep away from antennas. Stay at least 6 feet away from an antenna and at least 10 feet away from a cluster of antennas if a sign or barrier is not present.
  • Use personal RF monitors and protective clothing if work cannot be done at a safe distance.
  • Understand the risks of wearing a pacemaker around radiation-generating devices.

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