Last Updated on October 19, 2020
The vast majority of the corporate world spends at least 40 hours a week in the office.
With companies like Google constantly raising the bar on work space satisfaction, human engineering has become big business. Taking employee welfare far beyond the basics like good ventilation and a solid emergency evacuation route, the most sought after employers are taking a more holistic and healthy approach to office design and function.
Things like ergonomic seating and anti-glare screens that may have been considered luxuries in the past are establishing firm roots as staples of an employee-friendly workplace. The driving force behind the ergonomic boom is the modern workplace productivity model which places a greater emphasis on comfort and overall wellbeing as inputs to employee efficiency.
In terms of workplace safety, many employers are starting to become aware of the dangers emitting from the various electronic devices in an office.
While people are exposed to Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) in their homes, employees are also, if not more, in contact with EMFs in the workplace.
Their day-to-day schedule includes working with devices or around systems that all emit radiation to some degree.
What is EMF Radiation?
Electromagnetic Fields, or EMF radiation, comes from all electronic devices.
These energy waves are classified as low frequency, non-ionizing radiation. In small doses these non-ionizing waves are not as harmful as ionizing waves like X-rays, but the effect on the human body accumulates over time and can climb to an alarming level in a 2,080-hour work year.
Of particular concern are the electronic devices that we are in direct contact with. Laptops, tablets and cell phones all are mobile devices placed right against our skin for up to several hours at a time!
These devices emit three types of radiation: extremely low frequency (ELF) waves that emits from the device circuitry, radio frequency (RF) waves that emit from the wireless transmitters in the device (WiFi and Bluetooth) and heat radiation, which is a byproduct of this electromagnetic energy.
The sheer number of hours employees spend intravenously attached to their laptops and computers using WiFi warrants company-wide adoption of computer radiation shields.
Who is Most Vulnerable to EMFs?
Workers in high-concentration EMF industry environments must be extra careful when dealing with these fields and take precautions to minimize their exposure while still operating electrical equipment or circuits. EMF shields are used in this profession as a way to safeguard employees from the dangers of Electromagnetic Fields.
Electricians, welders and machinists who work around areas of high electric power, such as generators, cables, electric motors and power supplies, are in the presence of electromagnetic fields on a regular basis.
Those who work around concentrated wireless equipment are also at risk, such as those in the TV and Film Industry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though exposure is confirmed, there have been no federal limits established in the United States to limit worker exposure.
Other employees, such as office workers, may also be affected by exposure to EMFs. This is due to wireless WiFi networks set up in the workplace, as well as the use of laptops, tablets and cell phones they use every day.
As an employer, it is important to monitor all the risks, even the invisible ones that may affect employees.
How to Protect Employees from EMFs?
Employers and staff should work together to limit exposure to potentially dangerous EMFs. Providing EMF education to employees about the dangers of exposures and providing guidelines on how to avoid them is an important step.
This may include increasing distance to high-emitting sources, using low EMF designs when possible, reducing time spent on these devices, or using an EMF radiation shield when you do have to be connected.
A computer radiation shield has been demonstrated in laboratory studies to reduce or eliminate the radiation that causes DNA cells to fragment. Fragmented DNA leads to cell damage, skin discoloration and even cancer. The rising incidences of autism and infertility are also thought to be linked to long term exposure to EMF.
Personal protective clothing can provide EMF shields against shocks and burns. Medical surveillance keeps electrical workers under safe watch and supplies medical attention when needed.
Worksite rules which focus on preventing interference with cardiac equipment, detonation of explosives and fires caused by spark discharges or contact currents on site, must be kept in mind, as well.
Larger government agencies are only beginning to understand workplace EMF exposure but to date, offer few standards. Private agencies have developed guidelines for workers to limit EMF exposure. In general, because of inconclusive data in the research on health effects, actions to improve the workplace and improve proper working conditions have been slow, including the use of EMF shields.
By taking proper precautions like using EMF shields to reduce EMF radiation exposure, employers can prioritize the safety of everyone in their department.
Electromagnetic Fields are everywhere. But they can be more prominent in workplaces that have multiple electrical sources generating high levels of emissions. The risk of prolonged exposure may be damaging to health by impairing the body’s immune system, increasing fatigue and adding stress to our systems.
Employers should be aware of EMF dangers, inform their employees about the risks, and set out to implement strategies to limit the exposure of his or her workers.