As technology advances, the use of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the workplace has become increasingly common. EMFs are a type of energy that is emitted by electrical equipment and can potentially harm workers if they are exposed to high levels of it for prolonged periods. In the UK, it is mandatory for employers to carry out an EMF survey to assess the level of exposure that their employees may be subjected to in the workplace. This article will explore the importance of EMF surveys and how to assess EMF exposure in the UK workplace.
The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work (CEMFAW) Regulations 2016 are in place to protect workers from the potential risks associated with EMF exposure.
The regulations state that employers have a legal obligation to carry out an EMF survey in the workplace if their employees are likely to be exposed to EMFs above the action levels specified in the regulations. The action levels are set based on the level of exposure that could potentially cause harm to workers, and if these levels are exceeded, the employer must take action to reduce exposure.
The first step in assessing EMF exposure in the workplace is to identify the potential sources of EMFs. This can include anything from electrical equipment such as computers and machinery, to mobile phones and Wi-Fi routers. Once the sources of EMFs have been identified, the next step is to measure the levels of exposure. This can be done using a variety of methods, including handheld EMF meters or more sophisticated monitoring systems.
The measurement of EMF exposure should be carried out by a qualified professional who has experience in conducting EMF surveys. This is important as the accuracy of the measurements is crucial in determining whether the action levels have been exceeded and what steps need to be taken to reduce exposure. The survey should cover all areas of the workplace where employees are likely to be exposed to EMFs, including workstations, break rooms, and any areas where electrical equipment is stored.
Once the EMF survey has been completed, the results should be analysed to determine whether the action levels have been exceeded. If the action levels have been exceeded, the employer must take steps to reduce exposure to ensure that their employees are not put at risk. This may involve implementing engineering controls such as shielding or relocating electrical equipment, or providing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as EMF-resistant clothing.
It is important to note that not all EMFs are harmful and that low levels of exposure are unlikely to cause any harm to workers. However, it is still important to carry out an EMF survey to ensure that workers are not exposed to levels that could potentially cause harm. It is also important to remember that the effects of EMF exposure can be cumulative, meaning that even low levels of exposure over a prolonged period could potentially cause harm.
In addition to carrying out an EMF survey, employers can also take steps to reduce the risk of EMF exposure in the workplace. This can include implementing policies and procedures to limit the use of electrical equipment, providing training to employees on how to use equipment safely, and ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained and regularly inspected.
In conclusion, EMF exposure in the workplace is a potential health and safety risk that employers must take seriously. The CEMFAW Regulations 2016 require employers to carry out an EMF survey to assess the level of exposure that their employees may be subjected to in the workplace. By identifying the potential sources of EMFs and measuring the levels of exposure, employers can determine whether the action levels have been exceeded and take steps to reduce exposure to ensure that their employees are not put at risk. It is important to remember that the effects of EMF exposure can be cumulative, and that even low levels of exposure over a prolonged period could potentially cause harm. Therefore, it is crucial for employers to take proactive steps.