How machinery manufacturers can ease end-users EMF pain

radiation that may cause harm, the manufacturer is required to provide information on the emission in respect of both the operator and anyone else exposed. This is particularly essential for any employees that wear implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers. Volume 1 of the Practical Guide states: “Where information from databases

Since its introduction nearly a year ago, machinery end-users are still struggling to comply with The Physical Agents Directive (EMF). TÜV SÜD explain how end-users would benefit significantly if manufacturers and importers provided evidence of conformity, helping them to meet the requirements of EMF much more easily and cost effectively


he Physical Agents Directive (EMF) 2013/35/EU came into force in July

2016, in order to prevent people from being exposed to hazardous electromagnetic fields in the workplace. This puts the onus on machinery end- users, who are now required to undertake a workplace assessment to determine EMF levels, and ascertain the risk of workers’ exposure to unsafe levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF). Restrictions placed on EMF quantities include electric field strength, magnetic field strength, magnetic flux density, power density and contact current. However, while certain electrical products must be tested to European standards on EMF in order to gain CE Marking, there is no requirement for machinery manufacturers to share specific radiation levels data within user documentation. While the new EMF Directive is workplace specific, machinery end-users would benefit significantly if manufacturers and importers provided evidence of conformity. The majority of electrical products are liable to generate electromagnetic fields and, whilst there is a CE Marking Legislation (Electromagnetic

Compatibility Directive 2014/30/EU) that covers the performance side of emissions and immunity of electromagnetic fields, it does not contain any safety level requirements. The safety aspect is generally covered by other product legislation, such as the Machinery (2006/42/EC) and Low Voltage directives (2014/35/EU), which contain requirements asking manufacturers to ensure that radiation does not have an adverse effect on persons. While there could be a range of different types of radiation to consider, it does also cover electromagnetic fields. The Physical Agents Directive (EMF)

identifies the need for competent services, or persons, to undertake a workplace assessment where potentially hazardous EMF sources are present. To help machinery end-users understand their obligations, the European Commission has produced a series of practical guides. Within these, all that machinery manufacturers are required to do is to provide information on any residual risks and protective measures that the end-user could implement. Where machinery is likely to emit


and manufacturers is available, this will offer employers a much simpler route to demonstrating compliance than undertaking a specific assessment.” It also states that: “Databases of generic assessments for particular industry sectors may be very helpful. These might be produced by government institutions, professional bodies or trade associations. In all cases a prime consideration would be to save individual employers from the time and expense of carrying out specific assessments…When considering the use of information obtained from databases, employers should check that the equipment is being used as intended in both the database assessment and their own workplace. In addition, the assessment data may not be relevant if the equipment is of a very different age or has not been properly maintained.” The Guide states that standards are

currently being developed to help manufacturers with the process of assessing emissions specified in the EMF Directive. Some of these standards will also specify how the assessment results should be reported to purchasers of equipment. It advises readers that: “Manufacturers may decide to provide

additional information not specified in the standard where they feel this would be helpful to a purchaser.” Any additional information provided by a machinery manufacturer, which could help an end-user comply more easily with the Physical Agents Directive (EMF), is bound to increase that product’s appeal. Machinery manufacturers, who must do emissions testing anyway, should help out their customers by providing this information. It would take little effort on their part, for substantial gain by the end-user. End-users are likely to favour their product if they know it will save them time and money when undertaking an EMF workplace assessment.



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