EMF Regulations: What you need to do
- Date: Wednesday 3rd August 2016
The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations SI 2016/588have been published and will come into force in England, Scotland and Wales on 1 July.
In Northern Ireland the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2016/266 will come into force on 1 August.
They cover electromagnetic fields with frequencies up to 300 gigahertz (GHz), and require employers to assess the levels to which their workers may be exposed against a set of specific thresholds. The aim is to make sure that:
- exposure of employees to electromagnetic fields is below specified limits, unless an exception applies;
- the risks to workers arising from their exposure is minimised; and
- where exposure is allowed to exceed the exposure limits, the risks posed by that exposure are adequately controlled.
So what do you need to do?
All employers must make sure their employees are not exposed to electromagnetic field levels greater than the exposure limit values set out in the Full Text of the Schedule to the Regulations.
It is possible for you to exceed the sensory exposure limit values if, amongst other factors:
- it is temporary;
- information is provided to the employees on the effects;
- protection measures are updated as a result.
All employers must make an exposure assessment of the levels of electromagnetic fields to which their employees may be exposed.
A further risk assessment needs to be carried out if:
- the exposure limit values are exceeded;
- indirect effects are an issue, such as static magnetic fields high enough to interfere with medical devices or cause a projectile risk; or
- you have staff at particular risk.
Information and training must be provided to anyone who has been identified as at risk.
If you exceed the exposure limit values you must produce an action plan to help you comply with those values and limit exposure.
You must provide health surveillance and medical examinations to staff who exceed the exposure limit values and report experiencing a health effect.
Currently, there are exemptions for the military and MRI equipment. However, it is possible for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or theHealth and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE NI) to issue further exemptions.