Commission welcomes Parliament adoption of new rules to protect EU workers from harmful electromagnetic fields

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EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of Directive 2013/35/EU to update and improve EU rules to protect workers from electromagnetic fields in their workplace.

Member States will have to bring into force the Directive in their national law by 1 July 2016.

What is in the text?

The Directive clarifies the definitions of adverse effects on health, and introduces anupdated exposure limits system (frequencies that are recognised as having harmful effects on the human cardiovascular system or the central nervous system), as well as a number of provisions to make it easier for employers to carry out the risk assessments required by law.

As employers are obliged to carry out risk evaluations, the Directive introduces detailed provisions to ensure a proportionate approach as well as to ensure adequate preventive measures to reduce the exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields.

The Directive requires employers to give exposed workers and their representatives the necessary information and training, particularly relating to the outcome of the risk assessment, the measures taken by the employer, safe working practices, the detection of adverse effects and the circumstances in which workers are entitled to health checks.

The Directive also foresees specific provisions for

  • the medical magnetic resonance imaging sector,
  • the armed forces,
  • workers who wear an Active Implantable Medical Device (AIMD),
  • pregnant women,
  • workers in contact with live conductors.

Who is covered?

The Directive only covers workers during their professional activities.

All other categories of people, such as consumers, phone users and passengers, are covered by the existing Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC for the general public and specific legislation in each Member State.

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