As of July 1, 2016, all EU member states are required to have implemented Directive 2013/35/EU for the protection of persons from electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the workplace in national laws. As a consequence, companies throughout Europe must now ensure that their employees are not exposed to fields greater than the exposure limits, some of which have been newly defined. This requires monitoring and minimizing risk through preventive measures where necessary.
The underlying EMF Directive defines “Minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from the physical effects of electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields in the frequency range between 0 Hz and 300 GHz”. Its limit values are primarily based on the recommendations of ICNIRP, the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. They have been reworked in line with the latest scientific findings and refer exclusively to the proven direct short term effects on the human body.
The new feature of the EMF Directive is the requirement that employers must now assess the risk separately for each workplace. The responsibility of ensuring that the limit values for workers are not exceeded means that every risk has to be assessed first and then the actual exposure levels recorded in a way that complies with the Directive. The emission specifications of device manufacturers or computed values can be used for this, particularly in areas such as offices and laboratories where only low-current equipment is used. For certainty, measurement is now required everywhere else where a higher local EMF exposure level is suspected, such as in metal industry production plant, welding or smelting equipment.
This new set of rules stipulates that specialist personnel should record the field values at regular intervals and then document these in traceable form for this purpose.
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