EMF’s are invisible electric and magnetic fields that are emitted by all electronic & electrical equipment when in use and are present in most workplaces.
Following the adoption of the European Directive 2013/35/EU – The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work (CEMFAW) Regulations 2016 came into effect in July 2016.
As part of these regulations, all organisations are required to undertake an assessment of the risks from exposure to EMF’s. Activities and equipment that are at higher risk include welding, electrical supply, magnetic equipment, medical equipment, none destructive testing (NDT), microwaves and metal working.
As part of the CEMFAW regulations employers are required to:
- Undertake an assessment of the risks from exposure to EMF’s
- If required, produce an EMF action plan
- Identify any at-risk individuals and ensure they are protected
- Provide instruction, information and training to employees on risk and controls
- Provide health surveillance if at risk personnel are identified
EMF exposure health effects depend upon the strength of electrical and magnetic fields generated, the type of equipment used and its frequency emitted.
Health effects are either direct or indirect. Direct health effects could be thermal or sensory such as heating the body tissue, nausea/vertigo. Indirect effects refer to interference of active medical implanted devices or generation of sparks.
Workers who are at particular risk ar; expectant mothers and those with medical implanted devices.
As part of an EMF survey, Validate Consulting will undertake a comprehensive measurement service of the work site and risk assessment.
What the survey includes:
- Evaluation of EMF levels and exposures with comparison to action levels and Exposure limits.
- EMF action plans and equipment zoning
- Information, instruction and training on EMF’s in the workplace.
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What are the health effects of EMF’s?
EMFs at different frequencies affect the human body in different ways, causing sensory and health effects. Sensory effects may include nausea, vertigo, a metallic taste in the mouth, flickering sensations in peripheral vision and auditory effects such as clicks and buzzes. Health effects can vary from tingling, thermal stress, and even burns in extreme cases.
Indirect effects can also occur, for example, when a magnetic object moves uncontrolled towards a magnet, potentially hitting anyone or anything in its way. Indirect effects may also include interference with body-worn or implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers and hearing aids.