Optical radiation

7. Optical radiation
7.1. Scope
7.1.1. This chapter gives specific information to help employers, workers and
competent authorities apply the general principles in Chapters 2 and 3. It applies to
workplaces where there is hazardous exposure to optical radiation – ultraviolet (UV),
visible light and infra-red (IR) – as a result of work activities, or where lasers are being
used. Detailed guidance on specific issues given in The use of lasers in the workplace,
ILO Occupational Safety and Health Series No. 68 (Geneva, 1993); and Visual display
units: Radiation protection guidance, ILO Occupational Safety and Health Series No.
70 (Geneva, 1994) should be taken into consideration in the application of the
provisions of this code.
7.2. Assessment
7.2.1. Employers should assess equipment and activities likely to give rise to
hazardous exposure to optical radiation. The assessment should include outdoor work
which exposes workers to the sun.
7.2.2. Employers should seek information from the suppliers of equipment about
expected hazardous emissions and precautions to be taken in installation, labelling and
use. Where this is not practicable, employers should obtain information:
(a) by comparison with other similar workplaces and equipment;
(b) from the occupational health service or a competent body.
7.2.3. Employers should assess the hazard and risk:
(a) by characterizing the level of hazard and risk including by comparing the real
exposure levels with exposure limits following measurements by a technically
competent person using appropriate and properly calibrated equipment, designed to
assess hazard to health of UV, IR radiation or visible light, as applicable. Laser
hazard evaluation should preferably be carried out by appointed laser safety
(b) by seeking advice from the competent authority about the exposure limits to be
applied and measures for assessment;
(c) from misuse or misunderstanding of safety precautions (such as violations of
enclosures and of access restrictions).
7.2.4. Where class 3 or class 4 lasers (see section 7 of the annex) are to be used
outdoors, employers should assess:
(a) the maximum range for which the beam can be hazardous (this is likely to be
limited only by effective absorption);

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