Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Surveys in the Workplace
If you operate, control, or work in an environment which uses high currents or radio frequency equipment then you need to be aware of the EMF requirements in the workplace.
As part of managing the health and safety of your business, you already need to control the risks in your workplace under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW); you need to think about what might cause harm to people and take reasonable steps to prevent harm. This includes considering any risks arising from exposure to EMFs which may require an EMF site survey.
The CEMFAW (Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work ) Regulations mean that you now have to assess employees’ potential exposure to EMFs with reference to action levels (ALs) and exposure limit values (ELVs).
Examples of strong sources of EMF in the workplace include
- Induction heaters
- Dielectric heating (RF glue drying, plastic welding etc)
- Industrial microwave ovens and microwave drying
- Arc (MIG, MAG, TIG etc) and Spot Welding
- Power generation, distribution and transmission (including battery chargers for UPS systems)
- MRI/NMR medical diagnostic equipment
- Handheld electric tools
The list of equipment, processes and systems where EMF can be generated is extensive and can often cover areas that may have been traditionally considered to be low risk in terms of Health and Safety.
The European Directive 2013/35/EU was transposed into UK law by The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016, making it an important part of Health and Safety at Work.
Who is at risk?
The legislation exists to protect the general public and workers from high levels of EMF. It is a requirement of Health and Safety law that electromagnetic fields are assessed for the workplace; this may take the form of either a standard risk assessment or a site survey.
“Persons at risk” such as employees with pacemakers, or those who are pregnant, young or old, have lower EMF limits that need to be considered.
What do you need to do?
The regulations limit exposure to electromagnetic fields known to cause adverse health effects and requires employers to assess exposures, keep records and undertake corrective action where limits are exceeded in the workplace.
The Regulations require that, as an employer, you should
- Assess the levels of EMFs to which your employees may be exposed
- Ensure that exposure is below a set of ELVs, see ‘Exposure limit values’
- When appropriate, devise and implement an action plan to ensure compliance with the exposure limits
- When appropriate, assess the risks of employees’ exposure and eliminate or minimise those risks. You must make sure you take employees at particular risk, such as expectant mothers and workers with active or passive implanted or body-worn medical devices, into account.
- Provide information and training on the particular risks (if any) posed to employees by EMFs in the workplace and details of any action you are taking to remove or control them. This information should also be made available to their safety representatives, as appropriate
- Take action if employees are exposed to EMFs in excess of the ELVs
- Provide health surveillance or medical examination, as appropriate
How can we help you?
To help you meet these challenges, we offer a range of services to those who need to ensure compliance with these regulations.
Not only do we provide on-site EMF surveys, we also offer a range of training and extended services that can add further guidance, advice and information to the comprehensive on-site survey.
On-site EMF survey
We can provide you with the information required to ensure your electromagnetic environment is within limits by one of our experienced engineers performing an EMF site-survey:
- If your site is compliant with the regulations, our site survey report provides you with the evidence you need to prove it.
- Under circumstances where you are not compliant with the regulations, we can work with you to help you achieve compliance in a cost-effective manner.
An on-site survey from Eurofins York includes, as standard
- Measurements and assessments made by highly qualified engineers
- A detailed breakdown of the results
- An in-depth report including a comparison of results with the applicable limits
- A verbal debrief from the engineers carrying out the survey
- On-the-spot advice and results
Why use Eurofins York for your EMF survey?
- We specialise in EMF and EMC and have been carrying out commercial testing for over 20 years. There are not many environments or results we have not come across before.
- We only use calibrated field probes that are applicable to the latest regulatory requirements and limits set out by the UK government.
- We hold ISO 9001 certification for all of our expert services activities (which our EMF surveys and reports fall under), with the result that all of our reports are checked and approved by qualified employees.
- All of our EMF specialists are educated to doctorate level and have extensive knowledge of both the legislative side of EMF and the practical implementation of the legislation.
To ensure on-going compliance with the law we can provide training to all levels of your workforce and even provide annual re-assessments.
Not only do we have a regular training course, The EMF Directive Explained, we can also provide bespoke on-site training should this be more convenient for you. Please contact us for more details of our bespoke training course options if you feel that this is would be appropriate.
On-going compliance analysis, advice and guidance
Beyond the initial survey and resulting report, we can provide a range of additional services that can guide you through the process of compliance which will assist you in ensuring that you have effective control and management processes in place. Our Expert Services team can advise on zoning principles, modes of operation and other matters in order to reduce the effect of areas that might breach the limits.
For more information about these additional services, get in touch and we will be pleased to help.
*In the Rail sector, GLGN1620 (published by the RSSB) additionally provides specific guidance for applying these regulations.