The continuing development of semiconductors still leads to more and more powerful, energy efficient, and inexpensive optical radiation sources. Modern gas discharge lamps can also have very high radiation emissions at low acquisition costs. Hence, spectral power distributions, source sizes, and accessible radiances have changed by orders of magnitude for these and similar incoherent spotlights. This trend of “brighter is better” is accompanied by an increased risk for detrimental health effects originating from blue-light hazard (BLH) and infrared wavelengths.
Scientific work and international standards report diverse approaches to assess these health and safety issues, each of the methods resulting in a more or less different outcome. The situation gets even worse considering the diversity of possible occupational exposure scenarios, i. e. the use of spotlights with adjustable output geometry, tuneable colour temperature, or varying radiation emission. The exposure duration also plays an important role for BLH and infrared risk assessment as it is linked to the detector’s field of view.
Main goal is the compilation, review, and subsequent determination of criteria to assess photochemical and thermal hazards at high-power spotlight exposed workplaces. Special focus is on reproducibility, comparability, and simplicity of risk assessment.
It is intended to develop a simplified risk assessment for relevant workplaces in order to provide a practicable tool (digital or print) for safety officers. Additionally, it is planned to publish the results of the Round Robin Test and the spotlights measurements.
First, the accuracy of the PEROSH partners’ optical measurement equipment will be determined with regard to calibration standards. In a second step, all partners will measure some spotlight exposure scenarios collaboratively. The results will be compared, and the measurement criteria will be discussed. Finally, the project partners will specify criteria for the assessment of photochemical and thermal hazards. Some partners will carry out a field test applying these criteria at relevant workplaces.
There are standardized and scientific methods as well as several individual approaches to assess photochemical and thermal retinal hazards at workplaces. A comprehensive view on existing work in conjunction with optical measurements can reveal the accuracy and usability of these methods in order to improve risk assessment of high-power exposed workplaces.
Practical and societal relevance
The overarching objective is the improvement of optical radiation safety for high-power spotlight exposed workers. A tool for a simplified risk assessment will be developed.
This project is now closed. A practical guide can be found here.