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Radiation protection - UVC sources

Guidelines for the use and handling of optical sources with short-wave ultraviolet radiation in the wavelength range of 100–280 nm (UVC sources). The guidelines apply to all units that acquire, use, handle and dispose of UVC sources, except totally enclosed UVC sources.

Norsk versjon - Strålevern - UVC-kilder

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with radiation protection

Delegation of responsibilities #

Line manager #

The line manager has the overarching responsibility for radiation protection at the unit. The line manager must perform their tasks detailed in Radiation protection – responsibilities and tasks.

The line manager must make sure that someone has the academic responsibility for the unit's UVC sources.

Academic responsibility #

The person with academic responsibility must perform their tasks detailed in Radiation protection – responsibilities and task delegations.

The person with academic responsibility for UVC sources should also:

  • Prevent the incorrect use of UVC sources.
  • Routinely check that the necessary personal protective equipment is easily accessible and in order.
  • Prepare local procedures for UVC sources owned by the unit.
  • Arrange for categorization of the unit's UVC sources.
  • Make sure that required maintenance and inspection of the equipment is performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Assess the need for eye examinations according to the guidelines for optical radiation sources and eye examinations

The checklist for UVC sources can be used when performing risk assessments (HMSRV3701E).

Users of radiation sources #

All users of radiation sources must perform their tasks detailed in Work with radiation sources.

Local radiation protection coordinator #

The local radiation protection coordinator must perform tasks detailed in Radiation protection – responsibilities and task delegation.

Labels and signs #

All entrances to rooms with UVC sources and all equipment must be clearly labelled with warnings of possible exposure to harmful UVC radiation. See Chapter 4, "Technical requirements" in the Instructions for safe use of short-wave ultraviolet radiation (UVC) (in Norwegian).

Protective equipment #

Adapted protective equipment must be available for everyone who has to be in areas where they might be exposed to UVC radiation exceeding exposure limits. This equipment may include protective glasses and face guards, long protective gloves and work clothes with long sleeves.

Local procedures #

The local procedures for UVC sources should at a minimum provide:

  • User instructions
  • Instructions for practical use, how to shut down the equipment, safety precautions, logging, use of the radiation monitor, maintenance, routine checks of technical safety equipment, etc.
  • Complete instructions for use and maintenance
  • Emergency procedures
  • Descriptions of possible emergency situations, how to handle them and who to alert in case of accidents or unwanted exposure. Problems should be reported to the problem reporting system.
  • Procedures for how to activate and control safety systems
  • Procedures for how and when to use protective equipment, and possible malfunctions

The instructions must be available in locations where UVC sources are used, and can be placed in a laboratory HSE information binder, posted locally, and/or distributed to others (e.g. maintenance staff), if necessary. Consider making English copies of the documents.

Dosimetry #

Exposure to UVC radiation should be limited to the lowest possible levels. The primary objective of safety work with UVC sources is to contain and screen workers from the radiation. In situations where this is impossible, the radiation level should be measured to keep track of the potential risk.

UVC sources are ranked in four categories (0–3) based on how quickly they can produce doses exceeding exposure limits, where high-risk sources (category 3) can exceed the exposure limit within 17 minutes. See the list on page 8 in the Instructions for safe use of short-wave ultraviolet radiation (UVC) (in Norwegian).

Measurements to categorize UVC sources must be performed in accordance with the method described in the Norwegian standard NS-EN 14255-1. The person performing the measurements must be particularly careful to use personal protective equipment. Measurement equipment is available from the central radiation protection coordinator.

Glossary #

Ultraviolet radiation (UV): Electromagnetic (optical) radiation in the wavelength range of 100–400 nm. UV is divided into three types; A, B and C:

  • UVA: Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of 315–400 nm
  • UVB: Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of 280–315 nm
  • UVC: Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of 100–280 nm

UVC sources, typical: Mercury UVC sources have a narrow and intensive radiation peak with a wavelength centred around 254 nm, whereas high-pressure UVC sources have a broader range. Sunlight down to 180 nm.

UVC properties: Air will efficiently stop radiation under 180 nm. Typical applications for UVC sources are the sterilization of air, surfaces and water, because the radiation kills bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. The radiation can be harmful to eyes and skin, but there are vast individual differences in UVC tolerance among humans, particularly in terms of the skin.

UVC categories: UVC sources are ranked in four categories (0–3) based on how quickly they can produce doses exceeding the boundary values, where high-risk sources (category 3) can exceed the exposure limit within 17 minutes. See the list on page 8 in the Instructions for safe use of short-wave ultraviolet radiation (UVC) (in Norwegian).

The radiation limits are designated by ICNIRP, based on types of humans who are sensitive to UVC radiation (typically light-skinned and sunburn-prone people).

ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection): International body that develops guidelines for safe use of different radiation sources, including UVC sources.

Help #

NTNU regulations #

Legislation #

Contact #

Approval/signature #

Approved by the Director of HSE – December 11th 2018 – HMSR37E

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