PLASA: draft Code of Practice on Artificial Optical Radiation

Tuesday, 31 May 2011
PLASA: draft Code of Practice on Artificial Optical RadiationNo major problems with entertainment lighting, but manufacturers will need to display clear information. (photo: Sarah Rushton-Read)
World - PLASA has released a draft voluntary code of practice on Artificial Optical Radiation (AOR) for comments or observations from the global professional lighting industry.

The background to the document lies in the introduction of new EU Directive and national legislation regarding AOR, and the subsequent agreement, by manufacturers attending a presentation that PLASA's Ron Bonner and the Health Protection Agency gave at the PLASA 2010, that guidance should be created.

In short, the new legislation requires employers to assess the exposure to the workforce of AOR and if the exposure is believed to be above permitted levels, the employer will need to measure the levels and take action to reduce the exposure. Manufacturers will also have a duty to supply relevant safety information. In the UK this is enshrined in health and safety law, but will also be part of the conformity compliance procedure for CE marking as part of the essential health and safety risk assessment. Regulators in the UK have publicly stated that in any breech of the regulations by the end user of entertainment lighting products, the level of manufacturer's information will also be scrutinised.

PLASA became aware of the potential for this regulation to cause problems within the entertainment industry some years ago and has, with the assistance of the UK's Health Protection Agency (HPA) carried out a two-year research project in which the output of all types of entertainment lighting was measured to evaluate the output against the proposed exposure limits in the Directive.

The good news is there were no major problems encountered. Ron Bonner has been able to produce a guidance document for end users on how to carry out a simple risk assessment based on the findings of the project. However, the process will be simplified greatly if additional photometric information is made available on each fixture.

The proposed code of practice (download here) is for manufactures to follow to provide the correct photometric data in a style and method that can be simply understood by the end users in carrying out the risk assessment. The document suggests methods of augmenting the data diagrams already used. It also allows manufacturers to meet the requirements under safety legislation and the conformity procedure for CE marking products.

In the UK, procurement departments of companies such as the BBC have started to request the photometric data for the Directive from their suppliers so there may be a commercial advantage to complying with the code as well as meeting regulatory safety requirements.

Comments and observations should be submitted to Ron Bonner at PLASA, using the PDF comments form (download here), by 6 of July 2011.

(Lee Baldock)

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