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Optical Radiation

Optical radiation may endanger the skin and eyes of employees

Optical radiation includes the ultraviolet (UV), visible (VIS light), and infrared (IR) wavelength ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. People working with this radiation may endanger their health. BAuA searches for ways of avoiding this.

Optical radiation © Uwe Völkner, Fotoagentur FOX

Along with the sun as the natural radiation source, there are numerous artificial sources emitting optical radiation in today's world of work. In this, a differentiation must be made between coherent radiation of a laser and incoherent radiation of LEDs, lamps, or spotlights, but also from plasma light arcs, for example. The commercial use of optical radiation covers the range of material processing, e.g. using lasers, via stage machinery through to the medical use, such as the removal of tattoos. However, the targeted use of optical radiation is common in the private area as well. The use of laser pointers during speeches is only one of many examples.

Wavelength range of optical radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum Wavelength range of optical radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum

However, this non-ionising radiation may endanger the skin and the eyes. A differentiation is being made between acute damage, such as sunburn or photo-keratitis, and long-term damage, such as skin cancer and cataract.

The Ordinance on Industrial Health and Safety regarding Artificial Optical Radiation (OStrV) forms the statutory framework for optical radiation. It was implemented nationally in 2010 from the European Directive on Artificial Optical Radiation (2006/25/EC)

BAuA develops methods for profound risk assessment

The objective of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is, among others, a safe design of working conditions where optical radiation is being used or where this radiation occurs as an undesired by-product. In order to allow for a profound risk assessment of such workstations, BAuA does not only manage the know-how, but performs its own R&D projects or awards these to third parties.

The transfer of newly gained findings to the public is manifold. In this, publishing research reports is a part as is the establishing of rules. The distribution of the research results may cover a correspondingly large area:

  • new-creation and implementation of national and European regulations and provisions
  • development of guidelines and information for employers and employees
  • information for manufacturers regarding the development of safe and health-compliantly designed products
  • help for market surveillance agencies

Publications

Research Projects

Project numberF 2368 StatusCompleted Project UV radiation stress in welding, Subproject 1 "Determination of UV exposure during welding"

Find out more : UV radiation stress in welding, Subproject 1 "Determination of UV exposure during welding" …

Project numberF 2377 StatusOngoing Project UV radiation stress in welding, Subproject 2 "Biological efficacy of intermittent and pulsed incoherent optical radiation"

Find out more : UV radiation stress in welding, Subproject 2 "Biological efficacy of intermittent and pulsed incoherent optical radiation" …

Project numberF 2422 StatusOngoing Project UV radiation exposure during welding, Subproject 3 "Requirements for protective components during welding"

Find out more : UV radiation exposure during welding, Subproject 3 "Requirements for protective components during welding" …

Project numberF 2355 StatusOngoing Project Determination of the actual light exposure from natural and artificial sources with regard to circadian effects in shift-working employees - Joint project between the BAuA and PHE

Find out more : Determination of the actual light exposure from natural and artificial sources with regard to circadian effects in shift-working employees - Joint project between the BAuA and PHE …

Project numberF 2335 StatusCompleted Project Laser resistance of protective filters as a function of beam diameter

Find out more : Laser resistance of protective filters as a function of beam diameter …

Project numberF 2310 StatusCompleted Project Dazzling by artificial optical radiation under mesopic conditions

Find out more : Dazzling by artificial optical radiation under mesopic conditions …

Project numberF 2036 StatusCompleted Project Protective components to reduce solar UV exposure at outdoor workers

Find out more : Protective components to reduce solar UV exposure at outdoor workers …

Project numberF 2158 StatusCompleted Project Safety installations for hand-guided laser machining

Find out more : Safety installations for hand-guided laser machining …

Project numberF 2254 StatusOngoing Project Applicable measurement procedures for risk assessments of physical agents

Find out more : Applicable measurement procedures for risk assessments of physical agents …

Project numberF 2115 StatusCompleted Project Measurement procedure for the risk assessment of light emitting diodes (LEDs)

Find out more : Measurement procedure for the risk assessment of light emitting diodes (LEDs) …

Publications

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