Beta This is a new way of showing guidance - your feedback will help us improve it.

EMF Directive (2004/40/EC amended by 2008/46/EC)

Legal base:Article 137, to implement improvements of the working environment to protect workers' health and safety.

Government department lead


What's new?

On June 29th, 2013, the European Commission published Directive 2013/35/EU 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 13(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) and repealing Directive 2004/40/EC. 

We feel that this final text is largely well balanced and proportionate, and offers a framework within which Member States can continue to protect their workers.


This is the latest step in the development of an EMF Directive. The original EMF Directive was agreed in 2004.  In 2005 the European medical community alerted the Commission to concerns regarding this Directive.  They highlighted the potential negative impact on the use and development of certain MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) activities. Wider concerns were also raised across a number of industries over the Directive's requirement for complicated and costly risk assessments.  

In 2008, after these concerns were raised with the Commission by the UK and other stakeholders, an "interim" Directive was adopted (2008/46/EC) delaying the transposition deadline of the original Directive until April 2012. The Commission worked with Member States to find a way of resolving these concerns, however they recognised that this would not happen before the implementation date of the original Directive, due in April 2012.  As such, in January 2012, the Commission formally published their proposal for another Directive to delay the implementation of Directive 2004/40/EC for a further two years, until April 2014.  This delaying Directive was formally published on April 19th, 2012, extending the transposition deadline by 18 months, not 2 years as originally proposed, from April 30th 2012, to October 31st, 2013. 

What happens next?

Member States are required to bring into force any laws, regulations and or administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by July 1st, 2016. 

The will publish a Practical Guide early in 2016 and HSE, is continuing to work with stakeholders to develop UK Guidance.  


Updated 2021-02-23