Council and European Parliament reach agreement on rules on exposure of workers to electromagnetic fields

The Council and the European Parliament, with the help of the Commission, have successfully concluded their negotiations on a new directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields.

On 13 April, the member states' Permanent Representatives endorsed the compromise reached, thus paving the way for the adoption of the draft directive at first reading. In order to enter into force, the text still needs to be formally approved by the Parliament.

The following compromise solutions have been reached:

  • Long-term effects of exposure are not covered by the directive as there is currently no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship. However, the Commission will monitor scientific developments and, if need be, consider appropriate means to address such effects.

  • In the interest of transparency, risk assessments to be carried out by the employer can be made public on request. National administrations and companies may, however, refuse access to a risk assessment in cases where disclosure would undermine the commercial interests of the employer, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.

  • Rules on health surveillance and on the records to be established regarding risks,prevention and protection measures have been strengthened.

  • Member states will have to enact the directive in their national law three years after the directive's entry into force. However, if Parliament approves the text by the end of June 2013, the deadline will be 1 July 2016.

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