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Commission proposes to revamp rules to protect EU workers from harmful electromagnetic fields

14/06/2011

The rules are to protect workers like doctors and nurses giving patients magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI), people working with radar, welders and workers reparing power lines. The proposal would replace the current Directive 2004/40/EC.

The proposal takes account of the 2004 Directive on minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields. It would update the current exposure limits to take on board new scientific evidence - particularly in relation to exposure limits of MRI in hospitals. It would also include a number of provisions to help employers in their efforts to carry out the risk assessments required by EU law.

The aim of the proposal is to balance the protection of workers' health and safety with appropriate flexibility and proportionality so as not to unduly hamper the use and development of industrial and medical activities.

Welcoming the adoption of the proposal by the Commission, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: "After a transparent and open consultation process with the scientific and medical communities, with industry and workers, we have put a proposal on the table that is up-to-date and with practical rules to better protect workers exposed to electromagnetic fields. The new rules are a major step in reducing the burden for SMEs in comparison with the 2004 Directive".

The proposal will be sent to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for adoption. The new directive's deadline for implementation will be set by the Parliament and the Council.