Human Resources

Health and Safety

Control of Artificial Radiation

The Control of Artificial Radiation Policy is designed to ensure the safe purchase, installation, use and maintenance of artificial optical radiation producing equipment owned or hired by the University, including lasers and equipment producing ultraviolet radiation (UV-R) setting out the standards for their management and use. This policy is intended to ensure that the University is compliant with current legislation and sets out procedures on how to achieve safe environments for University staff, students, contractors and visitors.

This policy does not presently apply to medical or environmental lasers as we do not have any within the University. Should these change then prior to work you should contact the Laser Safety Officer or the Health & Safety Officer.


Lasers are devices that can produce intense beams of light. This is achieved by the process of Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation (Laser). The very high energy light beams that can be generated by lasers represent a serious hazard, therefore safety must be an integral part of laser operation.

Lasers are classified according to the hazard they represent and are detailed in Technical Guidance Note - LS02: Laser Classification.

The Class 3B and Class 4 lasers that are used at the University of Portsmouth are mainly embedded in equipment and exposure to the laser beams is not possible under normal operating conditions.

The energy beams generated by lasers are classified as non-ionising radiation. The health effects associated with non-ionising radiation are detailed in Technical Guidance Note - LS01: Health Effects of Non-ionising Electro Magnetic Radiation.

The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations came into force on 27 April 2010 and implement the Physical Agents (Artificial Optical Radiation) Directive (2006/25/EC) in Great Britain. Guidance on complying with these regulations will be available shortly.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) apply indirectly to non-ionising radiation, requiring that equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Suitable for the intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and, in certain circumstances, inspected to ensure this remains the case
  • Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training
  • Accompanied by suitable safety measures, eg protective devices, markings, warnings

Further guidance can be obtained in the document Guidance on the Safe use of Lasers in Education and Research (Guidance Note 7).

Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet Radiation (UV-R) is electromagnetic radiation covering the range of wavelengths 100-400nm. It is divided by wavelength into:

  • UV-A 315-400nm
  • UV-B 280-315nm
  • UV-C 100-280nm

UV-R is used in many applications such as UV light boxes (transilluminators), germicidal lamps and UV cross-linkers, and is also produced as a by product of some process, an example being welding. Other artificial UV-R sources are solid state light sources, such as light emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers.

LASER Registration Form

LASER registration form

This form should be used by Departments to register new pressure vessels and deregister old equipment, in accordance with the University

Laser Safety Officer

The University has appointed David Wright as Laser Safety Officer.

When lasers or equipment containing lasers are purchased or bought into the University, the Laser Safety Officer must be notified using the Laser Registration Form.

Lasers in printers, photocopiers and CD and DVD players do not need to be registered.

If you require any further information or assistance please email

Technical Guidance Note - LS01: Health Effects of Non-ionising Electro Magnetic Radiation [Acrobat (.pdf) - Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:00 BST]

Technical Guidance Note - LS02: Laser Classification [Acrobat (.pdf) - Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:00 BST]

Technical Guidance Note - LS03: Acronyms Commonly Used in Laser and Non-ionising Radiation Literature [Acrobat (.pdf) - Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:00 BST]

Technical Guidance Note - LS04 Safe Use of Laser Pointers and Similar Devices [Acrobat (.pdf) - 24.6KB Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:00 BST]

Guidance on the Safe Use of Lasers in Education and Research [Acrobat (.pdf) - 627 KB Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:00 BST]

Role of the University Laser Safety Officer [Acrobat (.pdf) - 30.5KB Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:00:00 BST]