Ultraviolet Radiation and the Work Environment (Revised. See: 77-138)


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 74-121

This pamphlet provided information on ultraviolet (UV) radiation hazards in the workplace. UV radiation arose or was used in the following cases: from fluorescent lamps, instrument panels, from special effects in visual presentations, in chemical synthesis and analysis, in product inspection, crime detection, medical diagnosis and treatment, photoengraving, photocopying, photoelectric scanning, and electrostatic processes. UV radiation damaged not only the skin but the eyes as well. Skin exposed to UV suffered from hastened aging and skin cancer. Conjunctivitis occurred in the eyes of welders usually within 4 to 8 hours following overexposure. Prolonged exposure of unprotected skin and eyes should be avoided. Barrier creams and lotions offered brief exposure protection. For more complete protection, clothing, gloves, and face shields have been recommended for all exposure periods. Approved goggles with properly fitted lenses were needed for all welding, cutting, and open arc operations. Nearby workmen could be protected by the use of side and back screens. Ventilation was needed to remove the toxic and explosive gases formed from UV radiation interacting with solvent vapors and other chemicals. Workers should stay away from all unnecessary radiation exposure and remove all shiny metal objects from the work area. They should use protective equipment, check the ventilation system to be certain it is operative, and report all ill effects and skin disorders to the health office of the facility.

Page last reviewed: March 29, 2017