Telecommunication Towers on fire stations

June 9, 2005

A number of members are concerned about proposals to increase the capabilities of telecommunication towers from 2G networks to 3G networks where the towers are located on station land. In July 2004 the Union’s State Committee adopted the following policy regarding the installation and maintenance of these towers;“That the report on the proposed installation of 3G mobile telecommunications equipment at Concord Fire Station be received and noted, and that given this meeting’s concerns that the installation of 3G technology may have OH&S implications and that these concerns are supported by a study conducted recently in the Netherlands (TNO), State Committee adopts the following policy for that and all similar installations in future:

The Union shall require that the Department carry out the following measures to ensure that the health and safety of our members is regularly monitored and that the effects of RF EMEs are under constant review. These measures shall not apply specifically to Concord Fire Station and should be taken to apply to all workplaces where towers are in place for the purpose of transmitting and receiving mobile telephony signals.
1.    That monitoring of RF EME levels take place immediately prior and subsequent to any addition or upgrade of mobile telephone technology and the results of any testing conducted be forwarded to the Union.
2.    That regular periodic monitoring of RF EME levels be conducted at all workplaces where mobile telephone and RF EME installations are in place and these results should also be forwarded to the Union.
3.    Should a credible follow up study to the TNO report be forthcoming and that study confirms the findings of the TNO report or raises any concerns of substance then all 3G equipment is to be removed immediately. Until removal occurs all workplaces with 3G equipment will be immediately vacated.
4.    A separate dedicated hose-drying whip is to be installed at all stations where hose is presently suspended from towers and that until a dedicated pole is installed members should be advised that no hose is to be suspended from the existing towers.
5.    A physical barrier is to be erected around all towers to prevent access by members.
6.    That access to all towers be provided independently to the leaseholder and that members have no involvement or responsibility to, in any way, facilitate access or otherwise deal with the leaseholder or other parties involved with the towers.
7.    An exclusion zone is to be clearly marked around towers and appropriate signage installed to alert members of the safe distance for the operation of all appliances (including aerial appliances).
8.    That no further towers be proposed for stations with aerial appliances attached.

In regard to point 8, the Union does not accept that daily aerial appliance checks should be carried out away from the station. Clearly, where towers have any negative effect on the station’s operational capacity then the towers should be moved off site rather than the aerial appliance.”

In regard to Concord, Glebe, Balmain, Northmead and Gordon, electromagnetic energy  (EME) reports have been received for all stations and it appears that the Department has satisfied the Union’s policy. New hose whips will be installed at Gordon and Northmead and security fencing will be erected at Balmain, Gordon and Northmead. Members wanting electronic copies of the EME reports may contact the Union office, and members wanting to discuss the Union’s policy are encouraged to contact their State Committee Official.

Craig Harris
State Secretary



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