31st January 2017

The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations

The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016 requires all employers to assess employees’ potential exposure to EMF (Electromagnetic Fields).

If the levels of EMF are low and employees are not exposed to high levels, then there is no action required except for employees that are at particular risk.

So, what is EMF?

EMF are present in all workplaces but likely at low levels and do not cause any risk to employees. EMFs are static electric, static magnetic and time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic (radio wave) fields with frequencies up to 300 GHz. If an electric or electronic piece of equipment is used an EMF is produced. Some examples of sources of EMF are mobile phones, computers and other office equipment.

The following table give examples of frequency ranges and types of activities:

Field and frequency range

Examples of activities and equipment

Low frequency magnetic and electric fields: 1 Hz–10 MHzElectric hand-held tools

 

Intermediate frequency fields:

100 kHz–10 MHz

Surgical diathermy

Anti-theft devices

High frequency fields:

100 kHz–300 GHz

MRI (RF coils)

Diathermy

Dielectric heating (e.g. vulcanising, plastics welding or microwave drying)

Anti-theft systems

Recommendations

  • Develop a Management of EMF policy.
  • Create a list of all electrical or electronic equipment.
  • Check the field and frequency range of all work equipment.
  • Determine if the electrical or electronic equipment fall within the low frequency magnetic and electric fields which is 1 Hz–10 MHz.
  • Identify any employees at particular risk of exposure.
  • Conduct a risk assessment to understand if employees are at risk of EMF.

If the findings of the risk assessment demonstrate that equipment and activities fall within the low-exposure work activities/equipment and there are no employees at particular risk, then no further action is required.

What is the meaning of employee at particular risk?

In section 2 of the regulations this means the following:

(a) An employee who has declared to his or her employer a condition which may lead to a higher susceptibility to the potential effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

(b) An employee who works in close proximity to electro-explosive devices, explosive materials or flammable atmospheres

Typically, those employees at risk are:

  • Expectant mothers.
  • Workers with active or passive implanted or body-worn medical devices such as hearing aids, cardiac pacemakers, cochlea implants and others.

Where there are employees at particular risk, controls will need to be put in place to ensure the risk of exposure is prevented, reduced or managed.

QCS Policies

QCS have guidance and policies to support your service in meeting the requirements of health and safety.

References

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/588/contents/made

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Sally Beck

QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor

Sally is a multi skilled Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner with extensive experience of health, safety, quality and environmental consulting within the different industry sectors. She is also a Registered Nurse with previous nursing experience in both the private sector and the National Health Services. With extensive experience of CQC standards she has provided support and advice in implementing and managing health and safety.

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