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Control of Electro-Magnetic Field Regulations at Work

Posted: 30 May 2017


Electro-Magnetic Field

It is now approaching 12 months since the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016 came into force. HSE normally allow employers some 12 months to recognise that new regulations have emerged and therefore are likely to begin to ask questions of employers during inspections as to how the Company is proposing to comply if the hazard is present. These have very little application for the vast majority of employers unless there are employees with active or inactive medical implant medical devices (e.g. pacemakers, neuro simulators, drug infusion pumps). If there are no employees or other people with such devices then the risks are much lower.

Employees and others close to the following may be exposed to levels above those set within the regulations and may need considering under a specific risk assessment:

  • Broadcast and telecoms base stations, inside operator’s designated exclusion zone
  • Radio frequency or microwave energised lighting equipment Radio and TV broadcasting systems and devices
  • Any electrical circuit or installation (including cables, busbars, switchgear and transformers), where the cables carrying the electrical currents are bundled together so that they are always touching or nearly so, but there are earthing arrangements that mean the cables collectively carry an unbalanced current of >100 A
  • Any electrical circuit or installation (including cables, busbars, switchgear and transformers), where the cables or busbars carrying the electrical currents are separated, and the rating of the circuit or that part of it is >100 A (equivalent to 23 kW for a single-phase 230 V circuit, 69 kW for a three-phase 230 V circuit, or 1.9 MW for a three-phase 11 kV circuit)
  • Dielectric heating and welding
  • Resistance welding: manual spot and seam welding Induction heating Induction soldering
  • Magnetic particle inspection (crack detection)
  • Industrial magnetiser and demagnetisers, eg tape erasers
  • Microwave heating and drying
  • RF plasma devices including vacuum deposition and sputtering
  • Industrial electrolysis Furnaces, arc and induction melting
  • Microwave drying in the construction industry
  • Medical MRI equipment Medical diagnostic and treatment equipment using EMFs, eg diathermy and transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Electrically-powered trains and trams

For further guidance the HSE have published a guide to the regulations, with further information as to whether a specific assessment is required. This is available at: www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg281.pdf

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