Why You Might Need an EMF Awareness Course
Electromagnetic fields are used in many different industries, systems and processes. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for EMF awareness courses; this is because employees need to understand what they are and how to work in an environment where they are used in a safe manner.
An electromagnetic field can be generated both intentionally and unintentionally in a variety of working environments, in fact any equipment that generates an amount of electrical current can produce significant magnetic fields The introduction of the Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations in 2016 meant that employers had to act and make a detailed risk assessment to determine the level of exposure. EMF training will apply to static electric and static magnetic fields and high and low magnetic and electric fields.
Employers have an obligation to keep their employees safe, implementing strong workplace strategies to reduce the risk from EMFs. Exposure to EMFs can have both direct and indirect implications. Through training employees will learn the different effects of exposure, for example indirect exposure can result in interference with medical devices such as pacemakers, electrical shock or it can even cause a fire. Direct exposure can result in health complaints such as vertigo, problems with the nervous system and other serious health conditions.
EMF awareness and assessment
An employer is obliged to assess:
- Levels of EMFs in the workplace
- Identify any vulnerable employees such as those with pacemakers or pregnant employees
- Take steps to ensure that the exposure limit is within the required levels
- Create action plans
- Provide employees with training such as an EMF awareness course
Employees should be able to recognise the steps in the risk assessment process and understand whether they have been identified as someone ‘at risk’.
An EMF awareness course should, at the very least cover:
- The importance of action levels and how they are used to restrict exposure to harmful EMFs.
- How Exposure Limit Values (ELVs) are set and why they shouldn’t be exceeded
- How to assess an environment to identify whether exposure is above action levels.
- The importance of and stages in the completion of a risk assessment
- The identification of hazardous substances and what to do if the employee is asked to work with an exempt substance
- What to do in an emergency situation
What will you learn from an EMF awareness course?
Through an EMF training course, employees will learn not only about the risks but will be able to identify them in the workplace and apply the safest working practices to ensure that they keep themselves and others safe. Measurement and control of EMFs is so important, and training will equip employees with the knowledge of how to do this.
Recognising when exposure limit values may be exceeded is crucial, so employees know how to recognise the signs. EMF limits will vary depending on the work environment but a good training course will be tailored towards the needs of the business, looking at specific working practices and educating employees on how best they can reduce exposure.
Once a risk assessment has been carried out, the results of this should be incorporated into awareness training including what action the employer is taking, the recommended practices for safe working, how to identify symptoms of exposure and the situations when health screening should be offered.
When employees are more aware of the safety risks relating to EMF and understand good practice, this reduces the risk of adverse effects on health, increases staff well-being and motivation and highlights how businesses are actively taking steps to maintain optimum levels of health and safety for employees. Businesses have to be very careful about compliance and a comprehensive EMF awareness course will help them operate safely and in line with the relevant legislation and regulations.