A problem peculiar to all electronic technologies is electromagnetic (EM) interference. All electrical and electronic technologies emit EM disturbances that can interfere with the correct operation of radio-communications or other electronics. Electronic technologies can also suffer from degraded functionality (including complete failure) when exposed to EM disturbances.
The discipline of controlling emissions of, and immunity to, EM disturbances is known as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).
Electronic technology is frequently used in safety-related applications. Inadequate EMC can result in errors and incorrect operation of electronic devices; an increase in hazardous situations and consequently a higher health and safety risk.
The EMC and safety divisions within an organisation tend to use different skills and disciplines and may operate largely independent of each other. Important issues of EMC-related functional safety may be overlooked and not be correctly addressed.