The Dangers of Working with UV Light

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds. While it has some benefits for people, such as creating vitamin D, it can also pose risks to health. UV light can cause skin burns and even skin cancer on unprotected skin. In addition, UV light can reflect off shiny surfaces, such as stainless steel, so it is important to be careful when working near equipment when the UV light is on.

In any case, workers should pay close attention to warning labels and ensure that UV lights are turned off before entering or working in the unit. Exposure is controlled with the use of personal protective equipment and without ever directing ultraviolet light to the face. It is never safe to work in a biological safety cabinet (BSC) with the UV lamps on, and the UV lamps should not be turned on when the room is occupied. Access to the UV lighting zone must be controlled by using warning labels and visible signs in rooms, and ensuring that all laboratory workers are aware of the danger. Caution labels are available from Environmental Health & Safety (EHRS) or may be available from the manufacturer of the UV light product.

If there is a possibility that the eyes and face are exposed to UV radiation, a polycarbonate face protector with ANSI Z87.1-1989 UV certification should be used to protect the eyes and face. There are several sources of UV radiation in the laboratory, such as germicidal lamps in biological safety cabinets, transillumination boxes for nucleic acids, cross-linkers for nucleic acids and UV lasers. UV lighting equipment for biological safety cabinets, germicidal lamps, transluminators and Wood lamps can have harmful effects. Environmental Health & Safety can provide assistance in measuring UV emissions and evaluating personal protective equipment for protection against UV rays. However, UV light sources are also found in other workplaces, including laboratories, machine rooms and workshops. It is important to take all necessary precautions when working with UV light sources in order to avoid potential health risks. Paying attention to warning labels, using personal protective equipment and controlling access to areas with UV lighting are all important steps that should be taken to ensure safety.

Grady Ungvarsky
Grady Ungvarsky

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