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Outcomes from the ARPANSA source inspection program: Ultraviolet apparatus

Advisory note

Lit room with a set of UV lamps on either side of the room

Summary

  • Between April 2015 and late 2017 ARPANSA undertook 56 inspections of UV apparatus. These resulted in three non-compliances and 46 areas for improvement.  
  • The majority of identified improvements (41%) related to inconsistencies or deficiencies in documentation, particularly plans and arrangements. Improvements in signage and labelling were identified in 21% of cases and a further 11% related to work instructions and standards.  
  • ARPANSA’s Radiation Protection Standard (RPS 12) sets out the limits for occupational exposure to UVR for artificial sources in the workplace. This standard establishes threshold exposure levels for occupational exposure of the eye and skin. ARPANSA’s regulatory guides PDF icon Regulatory guide - How to determine whether a UV source is a controlled apparatus - October 2017 and PDF icon UV emitting apparatus - Case studies - May 2018 are available to assist licence holders.  
  • Licence holders must comply with the requirements in Australian Standards AS/NZS 2243.5 Safety in laboratories Part 5: Non-ionizing radiations-Electromagnetic, sound and ultrasound and AS 1319 Safety signs for the occupational environment for safety signs.
  • While there is always a need to be vigilant, UV sources are typically low hazard. Inspections are generally based on regulatory priority (RP) where RP1 is the highest priority and RP6 the lowest. For more detail about RP see section 1.7 of the ARPANSA PDF icon Inspection Manual
  • All optical sources other than laser products emitting UVR, infrared or visible light are deemed RP6. For such low hazard sources ARPANSA may adopt a simplified approach to regulatory oversight that does not require physical or e-inspection.

Areas for improvement

Areas for improvement for UV apparatus

Figures relate to findings from inspections of UV apparatus between April 2015 and late 2017

Plans and arrangements for managing safety

Licence holders must comply with subsection 60(2) and section 61 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 2018 (the Regulations). These require the licence holder to develop and implement plans and arrangements to manage radiation safety within the organisation.

The complexity of plans and arrangements should be proportional to the hazard of the specific operations, conduct or dealing. ARPANSA’s Regulatory Guide PDF icon Regulatory Guide - Plans & arrangements for managing safety sets out eight key areas that a licence holder’s plan and arrangements must cover.  Plans and arrangements must be reviewed at least once every three years.

ARPANSA Standard

Radiation Protection Series (RPS 12 Radiation Protection Standard for Occupational Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation is based on the ICNIRP guidelines on exposure limits for ultraviolet radiation of wavelengths between 180nm and 400nm (incoherent optical radiation). RPS 12 sets out limits for occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation for artificial sources in the workplace. The standard sets requirements for the control of exposure to UVR and establishes threshold exposure levels for occupational exposure of the eye and skin. It requires the licence holder to assess the risk by estimating exposure levels. Regulatory guides: How to Determine Whether a UV Source is a Controlled Apparatus and UV Emitting Apparatus Case Studies are available to assist licence holders determine whether a UV source is classed as controlled apparatus.

Signage

Signage for laboratories must comply with the requirements in AS/NZS 2243.5 (NIR laboratory standard).  For example, unambiguous warning signs need to be displayed at the entrance or adjacent to the source of any controlled non-ionising radiation apparatus. Australian Standard AS1319 sets out the requirements for the design of safety signs intended for use in the occupational environment to warn of hazards and control safety behaviour.

Licence holders dealing with UV apparatus are required to comply with RPS 12 and the NIR laboratory standard as a condition of licence.

Training

The NIR laboratory standard requires that any person working with hazardous NIR sources be appropriately trained in accordance with the nature of the hazard. This requirement is also a condition of licence.

References

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulations 2018

ARPANSA, Radiation Protection Standard for Occupational Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation, Radiation Protection Series No: 12, December 2006

ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) 2004, Limits of Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation of Wavelengths between 180nm and 400nm (Incoherent Optical Radiation), Health Physics 87(2):171-186

AS/NZS 2243.5:2004 Safety in laboratories Part 5: Non-ionizing radiations-Electromagnetic, sound and ultrasound

AS 1319:1994 Safety signs for the occupational environment

ARPANSA Regulatory Guide How to Determine Whether a UV Source is a Controlled Apparatus, October 2017

ARPANSA Regulatory Guide UV Emitting Apparatus Case Studies, October 2017

ARPANSA Regulatory Guide Plans & arrangement for managing safety, September 2017