The presence of electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a fact of life in the developed world, as they are generated whenever electricity is used.
EMF are static and time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic (radio wave) fields with frequencies up to 300 GHz. They are generated during most work activities, including manufacturing processes, research, medical applications, power generation, transmission and broadcasting, aeronautical and marine navigation.
To give you an idea, here are some everyday household electronics which all emit EMF to some degree:
It's worth nothing that with the exception of microwaves, the amount of EMF emitted from these items is much lower that the limits of what you may find in an industrial setting.
Some of the symptoms resulting from EMF exposure include; possible vertigo and nausea and heating of the whole body or parts of it, which is increasingly limited to the surface of the body. And some of the indirect EMF exposure risks include possible interference with medical electronic equipment such as pacemakers or defibrillators.
EMF are covered by the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work (CEMFAW) Regulations 2016 - which means employers are required to assess employees’ potential exposure with reference to action levels (AL) and exposure limit values (ELV).
Exposure Limit Values refer to the legal limits of exposure in relation to EMF. However, these are difficult to determine and so for this reason a separate set of values, known as action levels, has been produced relating to quantities which can be measured more easily.
Following an exposure assessment, the majority of employers will not need to take any additional action to reduce the risk from EMF. This can be due to:
It is also worth considering further assessment if there is any new equipment or machinery installed in the workplace, of if there are new employees who wear orthopaedic implants, pacemakers or hearing aids who might be at risk.
The EMF Directive addresses established direct and indirect effects caused by electromagnetic fields.
Direct effects; are separated into non-thermal effects, such as the stimulation of nerves, muscles and sensory organs; and thermal effects, such as tissue heating.
Indirect effects; occur where the presence of an object within an electromagnetic field may become the cause of a safety or health hazard.
If you are concerned about EMF exposure in your workplace contact RPS to see how we can help. Our team of Hygienists are qualified to measure and assess the risks associated with them and can help your site to be as safe as possible.
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