Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association :: View topic - Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations

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P.Marsh
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:29 am Reply with quote Back to top
Consultation CD227
Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are consulting on new proposed regulations on the control of artificial optical radiation at work.

Recognising that most employers are already managing the risks associated with artificial optical radiation the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have developed these regulations to prevent the need for further workloads on those already suitably controlling the risks. In addition, regulation 3 also ensures that the obligations of the regulations apply where there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of adverse health effects.

This consultation period will end on 5 February 2010 and these regulations shall come into effect on 27 April 2010.

Background

These will implement a European Union (EU) Directive and will ensure workers are protected from risks associated with hazardous sources of light. At the end of this message you will find a link that will allow you to see what is being proposed in detail and explain how you can give us your views.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognises that Great Britain already has very effective legislation in place that protects workers from harm from undue exposure to hazardous sources of light. Therefore, we have developed a set of proportionate regulations to ensure that businesses are not faced with unnecessary and onerous burdens where there is no risk of harm.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also developed a short guide to help at-risk businesses understand what they need to do to ensure their workers can remain protected.

Consultation

The consultation document contains a number of questions on which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would like your views. Responses are required by 5 February 2010 and the consultation includes both the proposed regulations and a number of supporting documents:
  • Background and Consultation Information
  • Draft Regulations
  • Draft Guidance
  • Impact Assessment

Useful links:

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Last edited by P.Marsh on Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:02 pm; edited 1 time in total 

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P.Marsh
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:27 pm Reply with quote Back to top
Just to remind you of the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations, which are under consultation at this time.

CD227 - Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations Consultation - http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd227.htm

It is important that you all consider how these regulations may affect your operations on site.

The HSE aim with these regulations to minimise requirements upon those who are already suitably controlling the risks association with artificial optical radiation, whilst regulation 3 also ensures that the obligations of the regulations apply where there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of adverse health effects.

I understand that they are concerned that these regulations will bring limited benefit to health and safety. A recent HSE Board paper (HSE/09/56) discusses the potential benefits and how the existing legislative framework, provided by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), already provides regulatory control and places a duty on employers to control these risks:
From HSE Board Paper HSE/09/56 - URL: http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/hseboard/2009/230609/p-jun-b09-56.pdf wrote:
"The Directive is considered to bring no additional benefit to health and safety in the UK because:
- the risks are well understood and managed in those industries where hazardous sources are used (high powered lasers in medical applications; welding and glass manufacture)
- proportionate regulatory control is provided under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR)
- reports of harm are extremely rare: since 2001 there has only been one RIDDOR2 report (‘arc eye’) reliably attributed to AOR
- the ELVs mirror international guidelines already adopted in practice in UK"

Safe Light Sources Listed in the HSE draft guidance

The HSE draft guidance included in the consultation paper lists the following as safe sources of light:
  • All forms of ceiling-mounted lighting used in offices etc with diffusers over the bulb. This includes compact fluorescent floodlighting; ceiling-mounted tungsten halogen spotlights; and ceiling-mounted tungsten lamps.
  • compact fluorescent lamps and tungsten halogen lamps when situated at distances more than 60cm from the user.
  • All forms of task lighting. This includes desk lamps, including tungsten task lighting.
  • Photocopiers.
  • Computer or similar display equipment, including personal digital assistants.
  • Photographic flashlamps.
  • Gas-fired overhead heaters.
  • Vehicle indicator, brake reversing and fog lamps.

EC guide, "A non-binding guide to the Artificial Optical Radiation Directive 2006/25/EC"

The EC guide, "A non-binding guide to the Artificial Optical Radiation Directive 2006/25/EC", indicates explicitly that there is a "need to identify applications of artificial optical radiation that are so insignificant with regard to health, that no further assessment is required". A list of sources considered trivial is included in this guide (section 2.3) and employers are also able to record that they have reviewed unlisted sources and drawn this same conclusion.

However where sources are not listed, or the risk unknown, employers should follow a process in order to properly assess the risk posed by the source. A suggested methodology for carrying out the risk assessment is provided in the non-binding guide in Chapter 6. Where this assessment determines that there is no risk, no further action is required.

The measurement of optical radiation is something that may be done as part of the risk assessment process; however the employer is allowed to determine workers’ exposure levels by means other than measurement – i.e. calculation using data from a third party, such as a manufacturer of the radiation source. If it is possible to acquire such data appropriate for the purpose of risk assessment, then measurement is not necessary.

This is clearly a desirable option as workplace measurement can be complex, expensive and carried out only by a competent person.

If determined that a risk is posed by the source the results of this assessment should determine whether existing controls are adequate or further control measures need to be implemented.

The usual hierarchy of control measures should be followed to eliminate or reduce risks to a minimum:
  • Elimination of the hazard;
  • Substitution, by less hazardous equipment/processes;
  • Engineering Controls;
  • Administrative Controls;
  • Personal Protective Equipment;

The guide makes specific reference to the use of filters and viewing windows, where the industrial process can be fully or partially enclosed. The use of filters on viewing windows, optics or cameras to monitor such processes can prevent/block the transmission of hazardous levels of optical radiation. Administrative measures such as restricted access, signage and procedures are also included as possible control measures, but should only be considered as control measures after properly following the hierarchy.

Interpretation of the Regulations

I am discussing this topic with HSE to determine, in industries such as glass, where the risks are well understood and already controlled whether it will be necessary to conduct such measurements - as this expensive process would provide us with no additional information.

I feel this is a matter for interpretation as regulation 3 of the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations reads:
Quote:
Initial risk analysis
3. An employer must, in accordance with regulation 4, revise the risk assessment which the employer is obliged to carry out under the 1999 Regulations if—
(a) the employer carries out work which could expose any of its employees to artificial optical radiation that could create a reasonably foreseeable risk of adverse health effects to the eyes or skin of the employee; and
(b) that employer has not implemented measures to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the risk referred to at paragraph (a) based on the general principles of prevention set out in Schedule 1 to the 1999 Regulations.

Part 3(b) would suggest that employers who consider their control measures have eliminated or reduced the risks to a minimum could conclude that control measures are suitable and no further action is required.

Any views you may have on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
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P.Marsh
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:33 pm Reply with quote Back to top
As I have already mentioned on this thread, I have been discussing the topic with HSE to try to establish their interpretation with regard to the potential requirement under regulation 4 to conduct measurements to ascertain exposure. With suitable assessment and control measures the requirement to conduct measurements could be a costly exercise to achieve little or no benefit to health and safety. These concerns were compounded by the EU non-binding guide and would only establish that the existing control measures are needed.

The response from Matthew Penrose, who is the policy lead for the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations at HSE, was clear – those who are already managing the risks appropriately do not need to take any further action. He highlighted that sensible measures should be taken and first principals used to determine whether a risk is present and suitably controlled. Existing control measures should be justified through accident records, risk assessments and control measures, as well as any occupational health data you may have.

These new regulations introduce a specific duty on employers to control risks from sources of artificial optical radiation (intense light, UV, IR etc). These risks should already be suitably controlled under the general duties imposed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), and those who are already suitably controlling the risks do not need to take any further action.

The regulation 3 'filter' or caveat prevents the need to take further action assuming that you have already implemented measures to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the risks from Artificial Optical Radiation, but these regulations will place a specific duty on all employers to control the risks from hazardous sources of artificial optical radiation.

I have submitted a consultation response on behalf of our members at British Glass Manufacturers' Confederation, but any SOHSA member wishing to respond should do so immediately - as the consultation period ends at close of business today (Friday, 5 February 2010).

I hope that some of you may find this information useful, please do get involved and let us know how these regulations may affect you.

Best Regards,

Philip Marsh
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