New ‘EMF’ Regulations
These new regulations provide the minimum health and safety requirements for the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields. Employers will be required to assess the levels of electromagnetic fields their workers are exposed to against specific sets of exposure levels.
What is the new legislation:
Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations SI 2016/588
What is the amended legislation
Who does this affect: England, Scotland, Wales
When does this change take place: 1st July 2016
Previously there was no specific legislation covering worker exposure to electromagnetic fields in domestic health and safety law. Risks were managed though the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
They cover electromagnetic fields with frequencies up to 300 gigahertz (GHz), and require employers to assess the levels to which their workers may be exposed against a set of specific thresholds. The aim is to make sure that:
- exposure of employees to electromagnetic fields is below specified limits, unless an exception applies;
- the risks to workers arising from their exposure is minimised; and
- where exposure is allowed to exceed the exposure limits, the risks posed by that exposure are adequately controlled.
The employer must make and implement a suitable and sufficient action plan to ensure compliance with the limitations on exposure to electromagnetic fields. The action plan must include consideration of, where relevant:
- other working methods that involve lower exposure to electromagnetic fields;
- replacement equipment designed to reduce the level of exposure;
- technical measures to reduce the emission of electromagnetic fields, including the use of interlocks, screening or similar health protection mechanisms;
- demarcation and access control measures;
- maintenance programmes for work equipment, workplaces and workstation systems;
- the design and layout of workplaces and workstations;
- limitations on the duration and intensity of exposure; and
- the availability of suitable personal protective equipment.