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Protecting workers from harmful electromagnetic fields

There is a new EU Directive to protect workers from harmful electromagnetic fields. The Directive clarifies the definitions of adverse effects on health, introduces an updated exposure limits system (frequencies that are recognised as having harmful effects on the human cardiovascular system or the central nervous system), as well as a number of provisions to make it easier for employers to carry out the risk assessments required by law.

The directive was published in the Official Journal on 29 June 2013 and has to be transposed into national legislation by 1 July 2016. As employers are obliged to carry out risk evaluations, the proposal introduces detailed provisions to ensure a proportionate approach as well as to ensure adequate preventive measures to reduce the exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields.

The proposal requires employers to give exposed workers and their representatives the necessary information and training, particularly relating to the outcome of the risk assessment, the measures taken by the employer, safe working practices, the detection of adverse effects and the circumstances in which workers are entitled to health checks.

The proposal also foresees specific provisions for:

  • workers maintaining high tension lines,
  • the medical magnetic resonance imaging sector,
  • the armed forces,
  • workers who wear an Active Implantable Medical Device (AIMD),
  • pregnant women.
  • The proposal only covers workers during their professional activities.

EU-OSHA summary

Read the Directive

All other categories of people, such as consumers, phone users and passengers, are covered by the existing Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC for the general public and specific legislation in each Member State

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