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BLOG: The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulation 2010 – in a nutshell

Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulation 2010

These regulations require protection against the harm that can occur to eye and skin through using hazardous sources of artificial optical radiation in all its forms, including ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and laser beams.

As the scope for different sources of optical radiation in the workplace is quite wide ranging, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has compiled a list of typical non-hazardous sources (that would require no further attention), and hazardous sources that are considered as being harmful to the eyes and skin of workers. HSE’s list of hazardous sources includes Class 3B and Class 4 lasers.

In its guidance to employers, HSE reinforces the position of the regulatory requirements by stating that control measures (precautions) must be put into place to reduce the risk of harm to eyes and skin of workers.

The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 comprise of 7 regulations. Of these, it’s regulations 3 to 5 that state the key obligations that must be followed. These can be summarised as follows:

Regulation 3 - Assessment of the risk of adverse health effects to the eyes or skin created by the exposure to artificial optical radiation at the workplace
  • The regulations impose a duty to carry out a specific form of risk assessment where an employer carries out work that that could expose its employees to levels of artificial light that could create a reasonably foreseeable risk of adverse health effects to the eyes or skin where those risks have not already been eliminated or controlled.
  • As part of the risk assessment the employer must assess, and if necessary, measure or calculate the levels of artificial light to which employees are likely to be exposed.
  • In carrying out the assessment, measurement or calculations, for potential laser exposure, the employer must follow the applicable IEC standards and recommendations.

Regulation 4 - Obligations to eliminate or reduce risk
  • Eliminate, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to reduce to as low a level as is reasonably practicable the risk of adverse health effects to the eyes and skin of the employee as a result of exposure to artificial light where this risk has been identified in the risk assessment.
  • Devise an action plan comprising of technical and organisational measures to prevent exposure to light that exceeds the exposure limit values.
  • Take action in the event of the exposure limit values being exceeded despite the implementation of the action plan and measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure.
  • Demarcate, limit access to, and provide appropriate signs in areas where exposure levels exceed the permitted exposure limit values.

Regulation 5 – Information and training
  • Provide information and training if the risk assessment indicates employees could be exposed to harmful artificial optical radiation.

LVR Optical provide training and consulting services to help people and organisations put into practice what is expected of the regulations, and creating safer working environments.
Please contact us for further information.

© January 2020 LVR Optical