An EMF is an Electromagnetic Field which is emitted by any form or Electrical Device. These Electromagnetic Fields can reach various levels within workplaces that have the potential to cause harm to health. When distinguishing between people who can be affected by EMF’s, there are two groups which they can be placed into, these are; individuals at Particular Risk and Individuals not at Risk. These effects can come in two forms, firstly is to be Direct which includes; Headaches, Vertigo and Heating up of body parts. As well as this, they can also be Indirect, this involves; interfering with Pacemakers, Various body Implants and pregnant women.
If you as an employer are involved within a working environment which uses high current equipment or magnets within the production processes, then you need to be aware of the EMF requirements and how to carry out EMF Testing in the workplace. It is not only employees who are permanently situated at site but also contractors and visitors who may attend site every so often that should be taken into consideration.
Emf testing is required if there a large number of items on site that can generate significant EMF’s, some examples include; Welding Units, Induction Heating Machines, Transformers, Switch Gear & the cabling associated with them, magnets used to remove metal on production lines, Magnetic Particle Inspection, Motors, Hand Tools and Lifting Magnets, just to mention a few.
Sysco Environmental are able to offer EMF Testing which assess the levels of EMF’s across the workplace, which can then be compared against the exposure limits and requirements of the new EMF Directive, 2013/35/EU. This was transposed into UK law by The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016.
The stages of the Regulations apply to employers in respect of their employees, unless otherwise stated. Any further information or guidance relating to the emf testing and regulations can be supplied by Sysco Environmental but the the main points include;
- 3. Application – Understanding who the regulations apply to?
- 4. Limitations on Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields – Employees must not be exposed above certain Exposure Limit Values (ELVs) unless only exceeding sensory effect ELVs when undertaking work activities where applicable safety measures, listed in a Schedule to the Regulations, have been taken.
- 5. Emf testing – A suitable and sufficient assessment of the levels of electromagnetic fields to which employees may be exposed must be carried out.
- 7. Action Plan – An action plan must be in place where ELVs are exceeded, the action plan must consider a number of specific issues.
- 8. Risk Assessment – A suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to employees, arising from their exposure to electromagnetic fields, must be carried out. However, this requirement does not apply if the exposure assessment indicates that exposures are below the ELVs, the indirect effect ALs are not exceeded and there are no employees at risk.
- 9. Obligation to Eliminate or Reduce Risks – Where Regulation 8 applies the employer is required, by employing the principles of prevention, to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the risks identified are eliminated or reduced to a minimum.
- 10. Information and Training – Information and training is required to be provided where employees are exposed to risks from ELVs identified in the risk assessment.
- 11. Health Surveillance – The employer must provide this to employees where they are exposed above ELVs and report experiencing a health effect.
- 12. Records – Employers are required to record the significant findings of the most recent exposure assessment (where there are five or more employees) and where required, the action plan (Regulation 7) and significant findings of the most recent risk assessment (Regulation 8).
Each of the EMF Testing surveys which is produced by Sysco Environmental includes a detailed report with the breakdown of all results taken on site and how this compares with the appropriate limits for both individuals at risk and not at risk. From this any stand out issues found on site will be highlighted along with recommendations of how exposure can be minimised or avoided.