Electromagnetic field exposure in power plants: a qualitative assessment of work safety perceptions among employees

Thomas A.M. Stege*, John F.B. Bolte, Liesbeth Claassen, Danielle R.M. Timmermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Electromagnetic fields, or EMF, are ubiquitous in our daily life. Extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF MF) are generated by any device using electric current. Especially in workplace situations involving MRI scanners, welding equipment, induction heaters, and power plants, they are known for potentially high field strengths. These high field strengths may lead to adverse health effects if insufficient preventive measures are in place. This study investigates employees’ perceptions on work safety regarding EMF exposure. We held 15 semi-structured interviews in three different (non-nuclear) power plants in the Netherlands. We found that power plants in this study made ample use of fences and warning signs where needed, creating a safe working environment. Nevertheless, some workers perceive that there are vague regulations, organizational issues and lack of clarity on the properties of EMF. Participants also indicated that there is some room for improvement with respect to work safety meetings on EMF. Employees want to be informed about EMF and its potential health effects and mitigation methods, but their information need is limited and straightforward. A simple warning system, along with safety information on paper, may be sufficient.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2020

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