France: Businesses Are Going to Protect Workers from Electromagnetic Waves

France: Businesses Are Going to Protect Workers from Electromagnetic Waves

Businesses are going to protect workers from electromagnetic waves
by France Inter with Yann Galli, 1st January 2017 (translated by the Editor of “Towards Better Health”)

It is one of the latest innovations of 1 January: Companies must now consider the issue of electromagnetic waves to which employees are exposed.

These waves are emitted mainly by wireless equipment: Wi-Fi, cell phones, and tablets. It took three years for this European directive to be applied in France. A decree appearing on 6 August in the official [government] journal, relating to “protection of workers against risks from electromagnetic fields”, indicates the threshholds of exposure that must not be exceeded.

The employer must evaluate the risks involved

Employees must be informed of the risks and workplaces where they are susceptible to being exposed “to levels of electromagnetic fields exceeding values”, with a view to limiting their access. The results must be communicated to the occupational physician and to the health, safety, and work conditions committee or failing this, to delegates from personnel and in the case of exceeding levels, the workers will be able to benefit from a medical visit.

Special attention will be paid to pregnant women and employees under age 18. Everything must be done so that for them, the impact of waves will be lowest.

A first step for “electrosensitive” employees

Sophie Pelletier is an engineer and works in public administration in the center of Paris. For six years, she pretty much no longer has had a professional life. Diagnosed with electrosensitivity by doctors, she is today recognized as a disabled worker because her health has continued to worsen due to electromagnetic waves: “In meeting rooms equipped with Wi-Fi and in the subway and public transport, all week long, I am accumulating this exposure which has devastating effects on my general condition, with a great fatigue, and cardiac rhythm, memory, and attention disorders which prevent me from returning to work when I am tired.”

One sick leave follows on another. Sophie Pelletier has asked repeatedly for a rearrangement of her job and work time. But she is always met with incomprehension from her employer. “It is an illness which cannot be categorized,” she explains. “It is complicated for the employer to rearrange certain things in order to allow me to keep my job. I have lost two-thirds of my salary over the last several years and this frustrates me because this damages my career and my health, both at the same time, and that isn’t good.”

According to estimates, today in France, there are nearly 70,000 persons who suffer from electrosensitivity.

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