Lock-out, tag-out policies vary, some are unsafe

Discussion in 'Safety - General Safety Issues' started by Dave Swainger, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Dave Swainger

    Dave Swainger Industry Observer

    I?ve seen instances where a station engineer will duck tape a notice near the breakers that maintenance is being performed on the tower. Others are very responsible and their company requires them to lock off the plate breakers of the transmitters to ensure that there can be no chance that a tower climber can be exposed to dangerous levels of RF. And some, quite frankly, have no procedures that they follow.

    Sometimes the engineer will just turn off the transmitters and not even provide a tag-out. Even if there is a tag-out, that can provide a false sense of security.

    It would be interesting to see a station engineer post their lock-out, tag-out policy. OSHA and NIOSH have lots of publications, but they?re general in nature and don?t specifically target broadcasters. Also, I know that a lot of tower companies require their workers to wear a RFR meter, but I wonder if they have a policy and procedure in place that requires them to make sure that the broadcaster has met an acceptable level for protecting the climbers before they begin any installations or repairs.
  2. Francis D. Cary

    Francis D. Cary Friend of the Community

    All responsible tower companies, which have a firm safety policy, have a section of that policy dedicated to
    RF hazards, all personnel are instructed, and then tested as to how they understand what they have been taught. Crew foremen and supervisors also receive additional training to recognize RF hazards. The key however lies with the Project Manager's coordination with the station engineer, and maintenance personnel, as regards the shut-down, and tag-out. I was the regional safety director for one of the largest tower companies in the country, and we always insisted on the PM being pro-active in this regard.
  3. Wireless Estimator

    Wireless Estimator Administrator Staff Member

    There is a lock-out, tag-out procedure in the non-ionizing radiation standard drafted by the North Carolina Department of Labor and industry officials. It will not be reviewed by the State Legislature until the 2006 session. The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and the North Carolina Cable Telecommunications Association believe the rules could interfere with routine activities where there is not a risk of a serious injury or death. The Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA) and other industry groups believe that the proposed exposure standard appears to exceed existing standards. Although this standard is just for the State of North Carolina, the telecommunications associations are aware that other states may quickly adopt the North Carolina language within their state?s standards once there is a resolution. Almost half of the nation?s states have their own safety and health programs. OSHA approves and monitors the State OSH plans. The North Carolina Rules Review Commission approved the rewritten rule submitted by the Department of Labor. At least ten letters requesting legislative review were also received.

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