Non-Ionising Radiations

On 27th April 2010, The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations (S.I. 2010 No. 1140) came into force with the aim to protect workers from the risks to health from hazardous sources of artificial optical radiation (AOR). Due to the wide variety of artificial optical sources, we tend to split these into three categories:

  • Ultraviolet Radiation
  • Laser Radiation
  • Optical Radiation

Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) sources are found in many laboratories and applications, from germicidal cabinets to photolithography. Although UV radiation is non-ionising it still poses a hazard and consideration of the risks should be undertaken before using any UV source. Organs most at risk are eyes and skin.

The RPS has the necessary equipment to measure UV sources to ensure compliance with the Maximum Permitted Exposure (MPE) and this service is available on request.

For more information on ultraviolet radiations see the Artificial Optical Radiation Directive.

Laser Radiation

LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are grouped into four classifications 1-4, with classes 3B and 4 being the most hazardous.

Class 3B and 4 lasers require dedicated areas with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), administrative and engineering controls. All class 3B and 4 laser operators are required to register with the RPS.

Organs most at risk are eyes and skin.

Laser Users Guide is available for further reading.

Optical Radiation

Lasers and UV sources are types of non-ionising radiation which come under the new Artificial Optical Radiation Directive (AORD). Other sources of optical radiation such as white light sources, strobe sources, blue light sources and welding equipment also come under the AORD directive.

A guide to the Artificial Optical Radiation Directive is available.