On 15 June 2011 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a revised Directive on electromagnetic fields. The 2004 directive had been previously suspended due to difficulties of implementation in various industrial sectors and notably disproportionate burdens for SMEs.
The aim of the new proposal is to balance the protection of workers' health and safety with appropriate flexibility and proportionality in relation to the use and development of industrial and medical activities.
Some of the most important changes concern:
clearer definitions, in particular for adverse health effects inclusion of a revised system for limit and reference values different from the current limit values and action values for the range from 0 to 100 kHz
introduction of indicators to facilitate measurements and calculations and to give guidance on taking measurement uncertainties into account.
introduction of some guidance to ensure simplified but more efficient risk assessments in order to facilitate the evaluation work and also to limit the burden on SMEs
introduction of limited but appropriate flexibility by proposing a controlled framework for limited derogations for industry
further complementary non-binding measures such as a non-binding practical guide.
Next steps: The proposal will go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption and is subject to co-decision procedure. Formal negotiations are expected to start in September 2011.