Exposure to optical radiation

Lab worker with gas flame

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Worker with gas torch during glasswork
Source: IFA

Optical radiation encompasses three essential wavelength ranges: ultraviolet (UV) radiation (100 to 400 nm), visible radiation (light, 400 to 800 nm) and infrared (IR) radiation (800 nm to 1 mm). The shorter the wavelength, the greater the energy of the photons and therefore the potential risk of harm is.

It is important for the complete radiation spectrum to be recorded when measurements are performed at workplaces, in order to determine the wavelength ranges in which radiation occurs. Instruments optimized for each wavelength range (UV, visible, IR) are then used in order to determine the hazard more precisely. A wide range of exposure situations arise in industrial environments; prediction or estimation of the radiation from a description is therefore often very imprecise.

A workpiece is placed into the oven

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Oven for ceramic fusion
Source: IFA

An overview of exposure situations frequently encountered in practice has been published in a report (in German). Owing to the high radiation levels, the associated hazards and the large number of affected workplaces, the IFA has conducted specific research into emissions of UV radiation during arc welding (IFA Informative Publication in German). The radiation spectra of different welding methods (XLS, 114 kB) determined by this research are available for download.

Gas torches (PDF, 299 kB) were studied owing to their radiation emissions, which had not previously been quantified. An IFA Report of these studies has also been published (in German).

Reports (in German only)

UV-Strahlenexposition an Arbeitsplätzen (BGIA-Report 3/2007) (PDF, 869 KB)
"UV radiation exposure at workplaces"

Emissionen optischer Strahlung bei der Bearbeitung von Werkstücken aus Glas mit Gasbrennern (IFA Report 6/2016) (PDF, 3,1 MB)
"Emissions of optical radiation during the working of glass workpieces by means of gas torches"

IFA Informative Publications (in German only)

Emission von UV-Strahlung beim Elektroschweißen (PDF, 128 KB)
"Emission of UV radiation during arc welding"

UV-Strahlenexpositionenbei der Glasbearbeitung mit Gasbrennern (PDF, 299 kB)
"UV radiation exposure during glasswork involving gas torches"


Claudine Strehl, M.Sc.

Ergonomics, Physical environmental factors

Tel: +49 30 13001-3470
Fax: +49 30 13001-38001

Timo Heepenstrick, M. Sc.

Sven Connemann, M. Sc.

Ergonomics, Physical environmental factors

Tel: +49 30 13001-3472
Fax: +49 30 13001-38001