The Control Of Electromagnetic Fields At Work (“CEMFAW”) Regs from the HSE came into effect on July 1st 2016 to protect Employees from exposure to EMF’s. All companies with >5 Employees are required to undertake an Assessment of EMF exposure to their workforce to ensure they are compliant.
What are EMF’s?
Invisible Electromagnetic fields are emitted by all electronic & electrical equipment when in use. The higher the electrical current (in Amps) the higher the EMFs emitted.
The EMF Directive defines EMF’s as :
- static electric fields
- static magnetic fields
- time-varying electric fields
- time-varying magnetic fields
- time-varying electromagnetic (radio wave) fields
……with frequencies up to 300GHz. Therefore, for the purpose of the CEMFAW Regs EMF’s with the frequency range of 0Hz – 300GHz have to be considered & assessed.
So what’s the problem?
If EMF’s reach high enough levels (the “Action Levels” under the CEMFAW Regs) they can have an adverse effect on the health of those exposed in two ways:
1) Direct effects ie) being in the direct path of EMFs:
- non-thermal sensory effects such as nausea, headaches, vertigo. These are caused by high levels of low-frequency EMFs eg) equipment using 50Hz power frequencies
- thermal effects ie) heating-up of body tissue, internal organs, skin etc. These are caused by high levels of high-frequency EMFs eg) radio-frequencies from mobile phone masts
2) Indirect effects ie) something else is affected by EMFs which then affects our health:
- such as interference with electronic medical implants (pacemakers, defibrillators etc). EMF’s can readily interfere with their operation, therefore the Action Levels for these are set much lower. Employees wearing such devices are classed as “At-Risk” and require a specific Personal EMF Risk Assessment to ensure their safety.
Will I be affected & how will I know?
The vast majority of Companies may not exceed the specified Action Levels, but proof is needed!
A number of high-risk industrial applications AND high-risk individuals from EMF exposure have been identified – Industrial applications include Welding, Induction Heating, Electrolysis, Demagnetisers etc.
High-risk (“At-Risk”) individuals include those fitted with both electronic & non-electronic implants and pregnant workers.
I don’t think we’ve got an EMF issue. So what do I need to do to comply with the HSE CEMFAW Regs?
Even if you potentially aren’t in the high-risk brackets / employ any At-Risk individuals, the Regs state Employers must undertake an initial assessment of any potential risks from EMF exposure. Furthermore they state :
- You must prove & ensure exposure is below the Exposure Limit Values
- identify any At-Risk individuals & ensure they are protected
So how can Scholes EMF help me?
Our team of qualified EMF H&S Consultants can ensure you comply with the EMF Regs by:
- Initial EMF audit, evaluation & assessment
- Where necessary conduct EMF measurement surveys using the latest high-end & compliant EMF Measurement Equipment
- Where necessary calculation & evaluation of the EMF Action Levels (AL’s) & Exposure Limit Values (ELV’s) using the above equipment to prove compliance
- Full EMF Survey Report to prove compliance including advice, site map, action plans (if necessary) etc
- Where necessary the provision of training & advice to relevant at-risk individuals