Non-ionising Radiation

Non-ionising radiation (NIR) is the term used to describe the part of the electrical spectrum covering two main regions, namely:

  • optical radiation (ultraviolet (UV), visible and infrared) and
  • electromagnetic fields (EMFs) (power frequencies, microwaves and radio frequencies)

Artificial Optical Radiation (AOR)

The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations came into force on 27 April 2010 and aim to protect workers from the risks to health, for example, skin and eyes, from hazardous sources of artificial optical radiation (AOR).

Some forms of artificial light can be harmful unless protective measures are in place. The HSE ‘Guidance for Employers on the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations (AOR) 2010’ provides information on this and will help you decide whether you are already protecting your staff, or whether you need to do more.

It provides examples of safe light sources and hazardous sources of light that present a ‘reasonably foreseeable’ risk of harming the eyes and skin of workers. It also provides examples of the key measures you need to consider.

Lasers

The University Laser Safety Advisor is responsible for advising on relevant legislation, providing professional advice on matters relating to lasers and the suitability of laser procedures in the University. The advisor must be consulted on all aspects of equipment, personnel and processes having laser safety implications.

University Laser Safety Advisor: Peter Wallace

Email: P.Wallace@gcu.ac.uk

Phone No: 0141 331 3656

Peter is also the Departmental Laser Safety Officer for the School for Engineering & Built Environment.

Schools/Departments should appoint a suitably qualified member of staff as the School/Departmental Laser Safety Officer where Class 3B and Class 4 lasers are used. This should be done in consultation with the University Laser Safety Advisor.

General guidance on good practice can be found in the AURPO Guidance on the Safe Use of Lasers in Education and Research and the British Standards Publication BS EN 60825-1:2014 Safety of laser products, Part 1: Equipment classification and requirements.

Laser Class - Laser hazards are identified by the classification of the laser and this must be marked clearly by the supplier. Hazard class 1-4 is the classification for UK/EU products; Hazard class I-IV is the classification for US products.

Registration of Lasers and Users - Any laser equipment (with the exception of embedded lasers in products such as laser printers, CD or DVD players) held in the School/Division/Department or any activity, current or planned, involving the use of laser equipment must be registered with the University Laser Safety Advisor and the University Health and Safety Advisor by completing the Laser Registration Form.

The form must also be used to register users of Class 3 and above lasers and users that could or are going to modify Class 1M or 2M devices.

Lasers registrations for class 3 (either 3R or 3B), or class 4 lasers must be accompanied by a risk assessment. The completed form should be returned to Dr Peter Wallace (GCU Laser Safety Advisor) via email P.Wallace@gcu.ac.uk and a copy emailed to healthandsafetyenquiries@gcu.ac.uk

This will enable the University and the relevant School/Departments maintain an up-to-date register of laser equipment and laser users.

Electromagnetic Fields

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) arise whenever electrical energy is used. So for example, EMFs arise in our home from electrical appliances in the kitchen, from work processes such as radiofrequency heating and drying and in the world at large from radio, TV and Telecoms broadcasting masts and security detection devices.

More information on EMF’s can be found in ‘A guide to the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016 (HSG 281)’.