Tips for Engineers!

Broadcast Engineering Clip Art

Safety at the Transmitter Site

Safety at a broadcast transmitter site should be a major item on an engineer’s to-do list. This includes not only issues concerning electrical and RF but other items such as falling, cuts, bites, etc.

One area that affects all of the above is maintaining a safe environment. Maintaining a neat and uncluttered workspace not only creates a better atmosphere to work in but can help alleviate potential work hazards.

Remove items from the floor area (extension cords, boxes, spare parts, trash, etc.) that could cause tripping. Maintain work items such as ladders, flashlights, backup lighting, and hand tools, in good working order. One item that is often overlooked is controlling insect infestation. Wasps, rats, and snakes seem to enjoy moving into transmitter sites without approval. Seal all openings in the building, install commercial-grade insect traps and always keep several cans of wasp spray handy for use around the outside of the building, especially in AM antenna tuning units and generator housing.

It goes without saying that electrical safety is a major item. Label all power disconnects and breakers correctly. Develop a lock-out policy (even if you are the only one there) to ensure the power is off before working on any powered equipment. If you have an issue that requires working on a device while energized, make sure there is someone there with you. Keep spare fuses (of correct rating) for all disconnects and never leave power panel covers off.

Make sure your transmitter site (regardless of size) has carbon dioxide fire extinguishers available. Carbon Dioxide extinguishers contain pressurized liquid carbon dioxide, which turns into gas when expelled. The main advantage of CO2 fire extinguishers is that the agent does not leave residue after use.

CO2 extinguishers should never be used in confined spaces as the gas reduces the amount of oxygen in the area. 

We have written in previous articles about the importance of conducting a routine inspection of the outside area of the transmitter site. Look for things that should not be there, tower bolts and clamps, and spring hangers, that could have fallen off the tower. Keep the area clear of vegetation growth that could be hiding dangerous varmints, especially snakes. Above all, use common sense and be observant. Make sure coworkers know you are at the site. Take care of yourself and others. 

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