HOSPEEM response to the first consultation of the European social partners on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to electromagnetic fields at work
This paper summarises the responses received from HOSPEEM members to the Commission’s consultation on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to electromagnetic fields at work.
The protection of the health workforce from workplace risks is a key priority for hospital and healthcare employers across Europe and HOSPEEM fully supports the risk assessment-based approach which underpins the legislative framework for health and safety at work. There is a strong safety culture in the hospital and healthcare sector, focussing on minimising risks to both workers and the patients they care for.
In this context, given the lack of evidence for any long-term adverse health effects and the exceptional rarity of even short term effects associated with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the hospital and healthcare sector, HOSPEEM’s view is that the directive 2004/40/EC, in its current form, is not fit for purpose. In fact, if implemented it could expose healthcare workers to greater risks as it would be likely to lead to the increased use of other imaging techniques that rely on ionising radiation, the potential negative health effects of which are well known. HOSPEEM would therefore support a revision of the existing directive so that it is based upon the principle of risk assessment, excluding restrictive compliance with exposure limit values for the hospital and healthcare sector which already has alternative adequate safeguards in place.