Electromagnetic fields - Yleistä

 

General information on topic

Static electric fields are created by electric charges that are fixed in space, while static magnetic fields are generated by magnets or direct-current cables. Oscillating electromagnetic fields are created by electric charges that are constantly changing in strength and direction, such as alternating currents inside wires.

Electromagnetic fields are divided into groups on the basis of the rate of change and frequency, with each group having different uses and effects. The electric and magnetic fields generated by most technical electricity systems operate at a frequency of 50 Hz.

Regulations governing electromagnetic fields

Strong electromagnetic fields can cause a temperature rise in human tissue and stimulate muscles, nerves and sensory organs. Electromagnetic fields can also interfere with medical devices and cause a projectile risk from ferromagnetic objects.

It is the employer’s duty to reduce their employees’ exposure to electromagnetic fields to a level where it does not pose a hazard or a risk to workers’ health or safety or reproductive health. The law also lays down a limit value for the strength of electric fields created by high-frequency devices and the strength of magnetic fields, which must not be exceeded.

Ceilings have been determined for certain frequency ranges of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields, which must be observed in controlled working conditions. European Union Directive 2013/35/EU also lays down minimum requirements for the protection of workers against the risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields, which have been transposed into Finnish law.

Obligations of manufacturers of industrial machinery

Manufacturers have a duty to ensure the safety of any unwanted radiation emissions from their machinery and minimise their machinery’s operational non-ionising radiation emissions during adjustment, operation and cleaning.

The instructions supplied with machinery must include information about any non-ionising radiation to which operators of the machinery and others may be exposed, including electromagnetic fields, if such fields can be harmful to humans and especially individuals who have a medical implant such as a pacemaker.

Electromagnetic fields - Työntekijälle

 

Instructions for employee

Always let your employer know if you have a medical implant, such as a pacemaker, in order for the implant to be factored into any assessment of risks posed by electromagnetic fields.

Electromagnetic fields - Työnantajalle

 

Instructions for employer

Employers’ obligations are mostly based on the Finnish Occupational Safety and Health Act. As a rule, employers must

  • identify any devices that generate electromagnetic fields in the workplace
  • identify the electromagnetic fields generated by these devices
  • measure or calculate the strengths of the electromagnetic fields to which workers are exposed
  • carry out an assessment of the health implications of the electromagnetic fields
  • implement any protection measures necessitated by the assessment
  • ensure that special protection measures are introduced in respect of any workers who have informed the employer that they are pregnant or that they have a medical implant that could suffer from interference from electromagnetic fields
  • ensure that their occupational health care provider takes account of electromagnetic fields in connection with their workplace survey, if any electromagnetic fields present in the workplace are believed to be causing exposure in excess of levels to which the general public are exposed, and
  • ensure that their employees are given instruction on electromagnetic fields.

Assessments of the health implications of electromagnetic fields can be based on the ceilings laid down for radio-frequency radiation in controlled conditions in the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s Decision No 1474/1991 or the limit values and action levels laid down in European Union Directive 2013/35/EU. The ceilings and recommended levels laid down in the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s Decree No 294/2002 in respect of exposure of the general public can also be consulted.

Electromagnetic fields - Muualla verkossa