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April 26, 2010

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Optical radiation rules now apply

New regulations giving workers more protection from the dangers of artificial light came into force yesterday (27 April).

The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations meet a European Union directive to protect workers from harm arising from exposure to hazardous sources of artificial light. Some such sources, particularly UV radiation and light from lasers, can harm the eyes and skin of workers and must be properly managed.

Introducing the draft regulations in November last year, the HSE stressed that the new rules will mean few practical changes for most businesses.

However, they will impact on the small number of at-risk businesses who use hazardous-light sources as part of their work activities, and those organisations that are not already protecting their workers by managing the risks. Common sources of light in the workplace – for example, office lights, photocopiers and computers – will not be affected by the Regulations.

Following comments received to its consultation on the draft regulations, which closed in February, the HSE is revising its guidance on how to comply with the new rules.

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