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Essential actions for work with non-ionising radiations

Responsibility rests with the Principle Investigator and or the Manager whose work area involves use of non-ionising radiations and or equipment capable of emitting non-ionising radiations.

The University Radiation Protection Officer can be contacted for further advice and guidance.

  1. Occupational exposures to non-ionising radiations must be kept as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).
  2. A risk assessment for use of an emitter must be prepared. A risk assessment must be:
    • Suitable & sufficient;
    • Made by competent persons;
    • Identify controls;
    • Reviewed as necessary;
    • Significant conclusions must be recorded;
  3. Technical protective measures such as engineered controls should be applied to the source of non-ionising radiations where practicable.
  4. Operational protective measures such as administrative controls (including authorisation for using a source) must be implemented as appropriate for the emitter.
  5. Source–specific safety instructions must be developed and implemented.
  6. Controlled, restricted or forbidden areas near emitters must be delineated and secure and with clear warning and instruction signs where necessary.
  7. If control of exposure cannot be achieved by other means appropriate personal protective equipment must be worn.
  8. Potentially exposed personnel must be provided with training about the safe use of an emitter or safe work procedures near an emitter, and must be informed about any appropriate health protection precautions.

The Regulatory framework for the 8 actions is: -

  • A general Duty of Care requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
  • A risk assessment requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • The Control of Artificial Optical Radiations at Work Regulations 2010.
  • The European EMF Directive 2004/40/EC which sets Exposure Limit Values (ELV) for defined physical parameters associated with electromagnetic radiation.

EMF Directive 2004/40/EC requires employers to assess the risks to employees by assessing, and if necessary measuring, the relevant ELV action levels of non-ionising radiation fields (electric and magnetic fields) to which employees are exposed. As part of this risk assessment, employers must also consider any indirect effects, such as interference with medical electronic devices (e.g. cardiac pacemakers). The Directive also requires employers to provide appropriate information and training for employees, consult with employees and their representatives, and initiate health surveillance where appropriate. It is likely that the Directive will be incorporated into specific UK legislation on electromagnetic radiation in April 2013.

Additional Information