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Legal Provisions regarding the Protection against Risks arising from Optical Radiation

Optical radiation from artificial sources at work, e.g. from lasers, LEDs or halogen lights, may damage the eyes and the skin. We compiled the things the legislator does in order to protect the employees for you here.

EU Directive 2006/25/EC

On 5 April 2006, the European Directive 2006/25/EC on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to risks arising from artificial optical radiation was adopted as the 19th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of Directive 89/391/EEC.

In order to facilitate implementation of this Directive, the commission published a non-binding guide to good practice for implementing Directive 2006/25/EC ‘Artificial Optical Radiation‘. The guide is mainly intended as an instruction for employers, particularly for those from small- and medium-sized companies. Furthermore, it may also be useful for employee representatives and supervisory authorities in the member states. The guide is available in English, German, and French.

Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance on Artificial Optical Radiation - OStrV

The EU member states were obliged to implement the Artificial Optical Radiation Directive 2006/25/EC in national law. With an ordinance based on the Safety and Health at Work Act (ArbSchG), the German Federal Government met its European obligations. The Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance on Artificial Optical Radiation - OstrV came into force on 27 July 2010.

In 2016 and 2017, the legislator implemented necessary legal adaptations to this Ordinance. Essential novelties refer to the definition of the skills, as well as the definition regarding the laser safety officer.

Technical Rules regarding the OStrV - TROS

The Technical Rules regarding the OSH Ordinance on Artificial Optical Radiation (TROS) represent the state of technology, occupational medicine and occupational hygiene, as well as other sound work-scientific knowledge regarding the protection of employees against risks arising from artificial optical radiation. They specify the requirements of the Artificial Optical Radiation Ordinance and the Ordinance on Occupational Health Care within their field of application. Provided technical rules are being complied with, the employer may assume that the relevant requirements of the ordinances have been met.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announces the currently valid versions of Technical Rules regarding the Artificial Optical Radiation Ordinance (TROS) adopted by the Committee on Occupational Safety (ABS) in the Gemeinsames Ministerialblatt (GMBl) - Joint Ministerial Gazette:

  • TROS incoherent optical radiation: GMBl 2013, no. 65-67, page 1301-1368 and GMBl 2014, no. 28-29, page 630 (Amendment)
  • TROS laser radiation: GMBl 2018, no. 50-53, page 962-1044

Occupational health care

The Ordinance on Occupational Health Care (Verordnung zur arbeitsmedizinischen Vorsorge, ArbMedVV) defines, among other things, employers' duties with regard to occupational health care. Part 3 of the Annex to the ArbMedVV describes specific occasions for the provision of occupational health care to employees exposed to optical radiation. As a result, employers have a duty to arrange or offer occupational health care for certain activities involving exposure to artificial optical radiation.
Occupational health care also has to be provided for employees exposed intensively to natural UV radiation. Occupational Medical Rule AMR 13.3, "Open air activities involving intense exposure to natural UV radiation of one hour or more per day on a regular basis" (in German only), was published in 2019 to specify how this requirement is put into practice. Occupational Medical Rules reflect the state of the art in occupational medicine and other established occupational medical knowledge. Like Technical Rules that concretise occupational safety and health ordinances, they are covered by a presumption of conformity: as long as employers comply with the Occupational Medical Rule, they can assume that the relevant requirements of the ArbMedVV are being fulfilled.

For the current German versions of TROS please refer to our German Website.

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