Optical Radiation

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

Besides the sun as a natural source of radiation, 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 includes material processing, e.g. using lasers, stage machinery as well as medical applications, 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 based on 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 of it, as is the establishing of rules. The distribution of 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

Research Projects

Project numberF 2483 StatusCompleted Project Simplified risk assessment of incoherent high-power spotlights

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Project numberF 2442 StatusCompleted Project Ageing resistance of laser protection filters

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Project numberF 2448 StatusCompleted Project Effect of light on the alertness during the day: Dependence on the spectral composition of light and the exposure time

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Research completed

Project numberF 2449 StatusCompleted Project Occupational circadian effective light exposure

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

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Project numberF 2377 StatusCompleted Project UV radiation exposure during welding, Subproject 2 "Biological efficacy of intermittent and pulsed incoherent optical radiation"

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Project numberF 2391 StatusCompleted Project Interactive guidance for the measurement of physical agents within the scope of risk assessment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Research completed

Publications

Search results

Occupational solar exposure and basal cell carcinoma. A review of the epidemiologic literature with meta-analysis focusing on particular methodological aspects

Essay 2024

Background: Numerous epidemiologic studies and a few systematic reviews have investigated the association between occupational …

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Blue-light hazard risk assessment for white-light sources

baua: Guidance brief 2023

Light from screens and general lighting is almost always photobiologically safe. The use of high-power spotlights e. g. in …

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Built-in safety - Safe design of hand-held and hand-operated laser tools

baua: Guidance brief 2023

Hand-held and hand-operated laser tools (HLTs) for material processing are established in a number of fields of application in …

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Effects of Light on Attention During the Day

Report 2023

Light has been shown to not only enable human vision, but to also elicit other physiological responses. Besides its ability to …

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ENLIGHT: A consensus checklist for reporting laboratory-based studies on the non-visual effects of light in humans

Essay 2023

Background: There is no consensus on reporting light characteristics in studies investigating non-visual responses to light. …

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Influence of the human field of view on visual and non-visual quantities in indoor environments

Essay 2023

The visual and non-visual effectiveness of light is often determined by measuring the spectrally weighed irradiance on the …

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11th Symposium Light and Health

Report 2022

The past two years have been shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated limitations and restrictions. Therefore, the …

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Blue-Light Hazard Risk Assessment of Incoherent High-Power Spotlights

Report 2022

Photochemical retinal damages caused by light with a high proportion of blue (blue light hazard, BLH) can in principle be …

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Light exposure of indoor and outdoor workers in different occupations

Essay 2022

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Non-visual effectiveness of light at night as a function of the light direction

Essay 2022

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