Exposure to magnetic fields of railway engine drivers: a case study in Italy

Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2010 Dec;142(2-4):160-7. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncq270. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


A case study of exposure assessment of railway workers to static and extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields is presented. A measurement campaign was conducted in aboard Italian main line trains. All measurements were performed on board during regular service (two engine drivers were simultaneously present), in all places potentially accessible to personnel, considering routes ranging from a few tens of kilometres to hundreds of kilometres. The measurement protocol was mostly based on broadband metres and personal metres were employed to assess individual exposure. Surveys on static and ELF magnetic fields were performed for seven different models of engine or electrified train. Traction motors were fed by alternating current (AC) current, except for two engines, where AC current fed only auxiliary services. The final result is that the average exposure to static magnetic field was a little higher than the background geomagnetic field; occasionally in few areas it could reach levels of the order of millitesla. The average exposure to ELF magnetic fields was in the order of 1-2 μT, with higher levels (few microtesla) only for one engine; occasionally in hot spots, close to wiring or specific equipment, the field values could reach several tens of microtesla.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Railroads*
  • Risk Factors
  • Workforce