Cigre Australia

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In the Loop

WG C3.19, TB 806- Responsible management of electric and magnetic fields (EMF)

Despite extensive research demonstrating the safety of the compliance standards for electric and magnetic fields, some members of the public have concerns about adverse health and environmental effects.  These concerns require genuine acknowledgement and a factual, open and honest approach.  The issue remains very important, both in terms of safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity supply as well as maintaining the reputation of the industry.  This requires regular review and assessment to ensure that best practice is followed. 

WG C3.19 has recently produced Technical Brochure 806 to provide common, industry wide information to assist in the management of the issue.  The Convenor of the WG is James Hart from Australia who produced this article.

In Europe where compliance is a legal requirement, significant work has been carried out to demonstrate compliance with the guidelines in different scenarios. This Technical Brochure
leverages off this work and presents it in a way that can be applied in the Australian context. 

Several countries have adopted precautionary policies and arbitrary limits below the guidelines.  Where these are applied, careful communication of the rationale for this is essential to avoid implying that the utility believes that EMF’s above these lower limits are harmful.

The brochure pulls together and builds on the work of many industry experts across the globe and over the years, capturing lessons learnt and information accumulated. It provides a comprehensive and valuable resource for those responsible for managing the EMF issue, both today and into the future.

Background information about EMF and examples of typical exposure situations from electrical infrastructure is provided.  This is followed by a discussion of the scientific research on EMF, international guidelines and limits and methods for assessing compliance with exposure limits.

Demonstrating compliance with EMF standards is not always a straight forward matter. This can be the case in some occupational situations involving live line work, and work in very close proximity to heavily loaded cables and air cored reactors.

Other topics in the brochure include possible effects at levels below the guidelines, positions of key health authorities, guidance on how to effectively manage public concerns, ways to reduce EMF and managing the risk of interference with implanted medical devices.  In some instances, case studies are provided to help illustrate effective approaches to managing the issues or minimising the effects.

The Technical Brochure is free to members and 170€ for non-members.