Introduction

Overview of 2rn

2rn is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees and to meet its duties to authorised visitors who may be affected by 2rn operations.  We view safety as a core value and are committed to the highest levels of safety for our employees and the general public.

Individual attitudes and practices are the key to the success of our efforts. This requires the commitment of all staff to develop an awareness of workplace hazards and to follow the safety procedures adopted by the company to control the risks associated with these hazards. 2rn consults with staff on safety, health and welfare at work matters.

We regularly review our Health and Safety Procedures and Policies in light of experience and developments within the company and or any legislative requirements.

During the construction and operation of every site, safety audits are undertaken to ensure the health and safety of those in the surrounding area. 2rn undertake to carry out NIR measurements to assure compliance with the ICNIRP guidelines and the safety of all those who could be potentially exposed.

Due to the importance of safety in operations and sites a set of detailed guidelines have been put in place to ensure all contractors and customers comply with all applicable safety standards. 2rn’s Site Access Procedure works in conjunction with the relevant Acts and Regulations in place. Insert link to site access policy

  • The Policy covers a variety of areas including the following:
  • Accommodation Request Form (ARF)
  • Authorised Contractors
  • Site Access
  • Authorised Contractors
  • 2rn Induction Courses
  • Structure Safety Exclusion Zone
  • Site Mobilisation and Demobilisation
  • Installation Standards
  • General Site Safety Rules

Mast Installations and NIR

The issue of Mast installations and Non Ionising Radiation (NIR) has always been of concern to the general public, however extensive research has been carried out by international bodies and as yet, there is still no evidence linking mobile and telecom technology and a degrading effect on people’s health. To ensure the safety of individuals certain standards have been put in place. As with any business area, the wireless communications sector is governed by comprehensive health and safety regulations.

Irish Standards

2rn works in accordance with the Department of the Environment Guidelines in relation to ‘Telecommunications Antenna and Support Structures 1996′. The Irish Government has issued guidelines that must be adhered to in relation to the planning and construction of installations. ComReg. is responsible for the regulation of the wireless communications sector in Ireland. 2rn strictly complies with all of the current recommendations and is continually monitoring any changes.

International Standards

The global wireless communications market is extremely well monitored. Many well recognised bodies have issued guidelines and recommendations for operators to adhere to. Along with the Governments Guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO), International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the EU have all produced reports relating to Wireless Communications. ICNIRP Insert link to ICNIRP Regulations) are the advisors to the WHO on matters of Non-Ionizing Radiation and Health. No standard, guideline or statement published thus far suggests that radio frequency emissions from wireless communications or Telecom installations represent a hazard to the health of the general public. All of the reports are available in full on the relevant web sites.

Non-Ionising Radiation is monitored and checked by an annual audit carried out by independent bodies on behalf of ComReg.

Compliance

2rn strives to meet and exceed all legal national and international standards set out by all regulatory authorities. The safety of our employees, customers, contractors and the general public is of constant concern to us.

Different Types of Radiation

All parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are described as ‘radiation’, but not all radiation is the same. At the top of the scale, ionising radiation (as in radioactive decay or x-rays) has the ability to alter matter, including human cells. This can have serious consequences – ionising radiation can cause changes in the structure of DNA, leading to mutations and in some cases cancer.

By contrast radio waves, such as in mobile phones are at the other end of the spectrum. They have very low energies and do not have the ability to alter matter, so they are classed as non-ionising radiation.

Non-ionising radiation does not break molecular bonds. It arises from the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum, from the electromagnetic fields created by radio and television transmissions, domestic microwave ovens, and mobile telephones.

Effects on Health

Heating is the main biological effect of the electromagnetic fields created by radio waves. The levels of such fields to which people are normally exposed are very much lower than those needed to produce significant heating. The heating effect of radio waves forms the underlying basis for current guidelines. Experiments indicate that short-term exposure at the levels present in the environment or in the home do not cause any apparent detrimental effects. Exposure to higher levels that might be harmful is restricted by national and international guidelines. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 25,000 articles have been published on the effects of non-ionising radiation over the past thirty years. “Based on a recent in-depth review of the scientific literature, the WHO concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level

Electromagnetic Fields

The guidelines on exposure to electromagnetic fields are set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). This body, recognised by the WHO, reviews scientific literature from around the world and produces guidelines. The Irish Commission for Telecommunications Regulation (Comreg), regulates compliance with ICNIRP guidelines.  2rn strictly adheres to these guidelines at all of our sites.
Everyone is subjected to magnetic fields even within the home. Microwave ovens, TV sets, radios, and even the vacuum cleaner, all create electromagnetic fields which emit small amounts of non-ionising radiation. The amounts emitted are very small and well below the accepted international threshold levels. Outside the home, security tag systems in shops, metal detectors in airports etc. also create electromagnetic fields which are well below the threshold.

An important point to bear in mind is that electromagnetic fields diminish the further one is from the source. Mobile telephone base stations create electromagnetic fields. These fields are created by the antennas, which are normally at least 15m from the ground, as they transmit signals parallel to the ground to mobile phones. At ground level, the electromagnetic radiation level is very small and well within guidelines. In fact, the exposure level is 1/5 that of a domestic microwave oven.

ComReg carry out annual audits of all the Telecoms / Broadcast operators and their sites and equipment. The results of these audits are available on the ComReg website www.comreg.ie

2rn strives to;

  • Create of a positive safety and health culture through strong leadership and commitment, visible and active support and development of an open and inclusive strategy. Setting the best safety standards, driven from top management.
  • Being proactive in health and safety management.
  • Encouraging effective safety and health organisation, through compliance with OHSAS 18001:2007 and hazard identification and risk assessment.
  • Allowing for health & safety concerns in decision making.
  • Review and endorsement of the safety statement.

To this end, individuals who work on our sites must have completed the FÁS Safe Pass training course and all climbers must have attended 2rn’s own Induction training course. Each member of a ground crew must have completed an induction course (provided by 2rn) with their employer.  In line with all Health and Safety Authority (HSA) regulations, every effort is made to ensure that no member of the public has access to our sites.

All of our sites operate within the safe acceptable limits for non-ionising radiation as set out by ICNIRP. To ensure the safe operation of our sites, NIR safety audits/climb downs are carried out on an annual basis or where significant changes have taken place.  Our sites have an annual site risk assessment done and we also carry out regular safety audits by our H&S Department.

 

2RN BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

2rn Core Activities

2rn is Irelands national television and radio distribution and transmission service provider. 2rn also provides services to the telecommunications industry. The head office is based at Block B, Cookstown Court, Old Belgard Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24.
The infrastructure used on these sites varies from a 10m freestanding pole to a 300m stayed masts. A microwave radio distribution network links the major sites.

2rn distributes and transmits the programme services of RTÉ Radio and Television, TV3, TG4, and Today FM. 2rn also provide transmission services to a number of third party users such as local and regional radio broadcasters as well as site services to mobile telephone and broadband operators, private communications companies and the emergency services.

The key activities associated with the provision of these services include the following:

  • Provision and maintenance of transmitters and transposers and other broadcast equipment.
  • Provision and maintenance of Microwave Links.
  • General Infrastructure Maintenance.
  • Project Implementation.
  • Frequency Planning.
  • Network Monitoring.

 

2rn Work Locations and H&S Management

The work sites connected with 2rn activities include the following:

  • Block B, Cookstown Court, Old Belgard Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24
  • Tel: 01-2082223 • Fax: 01-2082283
  • Approximately 170 remote sites containing masts, buildings, antennae and other broadcasting equipment, ranging in size from 10m to over 300m in height. These sites are located all over Ireland.

A cornerstone for the company as it strives to have and maintain a high standard in Safety, Health and Welfare lies in its ability to maintain a flexible organisation to deal with all matters of concern to the Health, Safety and Welfare of its employees, contractors and members of the public.

The Health and Safety Department ensures the effective operation of the Safety Management System. They are responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Safety Policy and introduce any other measures necessary for ensuring that the Safety, Health and Welfare requirements of the Act are carried out.

The Health and Safety Team review, revise and put forward to the Senior Managers such requirements or amendments considered necessary to ensure continuous improvement of the safety management system and requirements under the 2005 Act and associated regulations.

Risk assessments are carried out at all 2rn workplaces. All site colleagues participate in basic risk assessments, which are audited by the Safety Officer. In addition to this Health and Safety Audits are completed by the Health and Safety Audit Team on a regular basis.

Emergency Situations

All colleagues, contractors and visitors must be familiar with the fire drill in the event of a fire alarm.

Training

Job specific training needs for all colleagues are identified by Senior Managers and the Human Resources Department. Human Resources are responsible for scheduling training and ensuring that refresher training is completed as required.

All contractors who climb 2rn structures must attend Induction Training prior to going to an 2rn site. Approved contractors are maintained on list by the Telecommunications manager. Only approved contractors are permitted entry onto an 2rn site.

Control of Contractors

Individual Clients or Contractors may place facilities at selected sites, for example portable cabins, storage containers or other similar facilities. The Contractors liaise with the Infrastructure Section and the SEIC to seek permission to install the facility, agree the details of the installation and arrange the installation. Once installed, the upkeep and maintenance of these facilities rests wholly with the Contractor.

The procedures for SAF for 2rn customers who wish to gain access to 2rn sites are contained in the document Site Access procedure: (Add link Guide to the SAF).

All staff of external Rigging Contractors appointed by 2rn to work on their sites are required to have been safety-inducted by the 2rn Health and Safety Officer (HSO). Inducted workers are issued a card with their name on it, which in turn can be checked against the SafePass card which contains a photograph.

Contractors coming to a 2rn site to carry out certain works are required to contact the NMC by text in advance and inform them of their presence. They are required to text into the NMC again upon completion of the work and to say that they are now leaving the site.

These calls are logged by the NMC.

Contractors’ equipment shall be certified and compliant with Irish safety standards. Where employee-training certification is required, it must be maintained in date. Riggers shall require climbing certification. Employees must be trained in all equipment intended for use as part of the works.

 

Access to a 2rn Site

In accordance with the Site Access Procedure, with is available from the 2rn website and the company intranet site booking system (SiteShare) , all requests to access an 2rn site must be processed through the National Monitoring Centre (NMC).  Where there is no construction work involved and the nature of the work is ground-based then there is no requirement to submit a Site Access Form; however 2rn’s NMC must be notified in advance of the site visit.

All construction work on 2rn sites requires the completion of a site access form, which must be submitted and approved by the NMC.

 

Environmental Issues

All businesses have an impact on the environment. 2rn at present operates over 170 sites around Ireland and we are conscious of the importance of behaving responsibly, particularly as many of these sites are in rural locations and Special Areas of Conversation and Public Interest.

2rn adhere closely to the requirements laid down by Conservation Bodies such as the EPA and Local Authorities with regards the maintenance of relevant sites so that they remain areas of natural beauty.

At our main stations we try to maintain close relationships with our immediate neighbours. Our philosophy is to support local communities by addressing any concerns they may have keeping lines of communications open.

Electricity accounts for the majority of 2rn’s energy consumption and considerable reductions are being achieved as the digital TV switchover programme activity progresses. This is likely to reduce electricity consumption and we are continuously upgrading and modernising transmission equipment.

We are working towards accreditation in ISO 1400 1 in 2012 which will help us to look at our environmental issues with a view to improving our footprint in the future.

In terms of waste disposal, 2rn ensures that all waste across the company is handled consistently and in an environmentally responsible way. It is our policy to follow the waste hierarchy:

  • Minimise waste produced
  • Reuse any redundant items
  • Recycle waste
  • Dispose, as the last resort