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Directive 2013/35/EU - electromagnetic fields

of 26 June 2013 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (20th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) and repealing Directive 2004/40/EC

As stakeholders had expressed serious concerns regarding Directive 2004/40/EC, the Commission has prepared a new proposal to better address the issues and repeal the former Directive.


This Directive covers all known direct biophysical effects and other indirect effects caused by electromagnetic fields. However, the Directive currently only addresses short-term effects and does not concern possible long term effects.


Definition of terms "electromagnetic fields", "direct biophysical effects", "indirect effects", "exposure limit values (ELVs)", "health effects ELVs", "sensory effects ELVs", "action levels (ALs)".


Risks assessment of electromagnetic fields at the workplace (if necessary including measurements and calculations, if necessary) should be carried out in line with the Framework Directive. Assessment of occupational exposure can be skipped if evaluation for the general public has already been completed and if the specific equipments is intended for the public use. The employer shall consider updating the risk assessment and the prevention measures if workers report transient symptoms in relation to their sensory/neural system.

The employer shall eliminate or reduce to a minimum the risks that arise from electromagnetic fields at the workplace in line with the principles of the Framework Directive. If relevant action levels are and relevant exposure limit values may be exceeded, the employer shall implement an action plan in order to ensure that the latter is not exceeded. Certain derogations apply to limit values.

Special attention shall be paid to workers at particular risks (pregnant, living with implanted medical devices) including individual risk assessment, where applicable.

Signs and access restrictions shall be specified and workers shall be trained and thoroughly informed.

Health surveillance shall be carried out and the findings thereof preserved.

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts: technically update the Annexes containing the limit values in line with the latest scientific evidence. A non-binding practical guide shall be issued six months prior to the transposition deadline, which is of 1 July 2016.

This Directive repealed Directive 2004/40/EC (see Annex IV for reference).

The current situation in each Member State must not regress as a result of implementing this Directive.

The values are based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).


  1. Physical quantities regarding the exposure to electromagnetic fields
  2. Non-thermal effects exposure limit values and action levels in the frequency range from 0 Hz to 10 MHz
  3. Thermal effects exposure limit values and action levels in the frequency range from 100 kHz to 300 GHz
  4. Correlation table

Read the full text of the consolidated version of the Directive (including later corrections for certain languages)

Read the full text of the original Directive (without corrections)

National laws implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

For guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection visit the ICNIRP web site.