The topic of RF safety is important to every organization that either uses RF and microwave energy to deliver an end product such as a wireless service or employs it to perform an industrial function such as packaging, cooking, and drying of materials or products. Maintaining a safe environment for employees as well as the general public is not simply a good idea – it's the law, and it is being enforced more rigorously every year. An RF safety program is the key to establishing and maintaining an environment that offers personal protection and is legally defensible. The thought of establishing such a program often strikes fear into the hearts of organizations, bemoaning yet another layer of bureaucracy, endless paperwork, and the need to learn about RF and microwave technology.
Fortunately, a credible RF safety program for many organizations is often not complicated, but does require a long-term corporate commitment, discipline, and yes, some difficult work. However, the time is well spent, since even the step of determining if a program is required answers the question of where the organization falls in the "RF safety spectrum," something many companies simply do not know – but should.
I've created this RF Safety Guide to provide the basic information needed to create an RF safety program. It assumes only that the reader knows that his or her organization employs electromagnetic (EM) energy, which to a wireless carrier is obvious but to a manufacturer sometimes is not. The guide is not intended to be a complete treatise on the subject, but rather an overview that covers the elements of RF safety necessary to begin the implementation of an RF safety program. Additional information is available in the guidances and standards and other resources referenced at the end of the RF Safety Guide. Narda-STS can also provide assistance with RF safety equipment and measurements, and conducts training sessions on RF safety training and measurements throughout North America every year.
Specifically, this guide can help organizations that employ equipment generating EM energy to understand the RF safety environment, assist them in determining if their facilities require an RF safety program, and provide basic guidelines about how one should be constructed. In many cases an RF safety program may not even be required, but the only way to determine this is to thoroughly evaluate facilities where EM energy is present. All of these steps can be aided by using this RF Safety Guide as an outline and help from consultants who specialize in this area.
However, it is essential that every affected organization have employees who are tasked with the responsibility of learning the regulatory, technical, and procedural aspects of RF safety, rather than resorting exclusively to outside sources.
The information and forms contained in this document are intended to provide general guidelines for RF radiation safety and to aid individuals intending to implement an RF safety program. However, every situation in which RF energy is encountered is unique.