5. Non-ionizing radiation

We can speak of radiation when there is an energy transfer through indirect (electromagnetic radiation with a wave character) or direct (particle radiation) contact. Non-ionizingradiation (NIR) is all electromagnetic radiation that is not sufficiently energetic to establish ionization (wavelength> 100 nm). We also need to make a distinction between electromagnetic radiation and electromagnetic field: energy transfer can only take place if the wavelength of the radiation is smaller than the distance between the radiation sourceand the irradiated object (objects are located in the far field, the electric and magnetic components are in a fixed ratio compared to each other). Objects that are at a distance fromthe source, smaller than the wavelength, are located in the near field (no constant relationship between the strength of the electric and magnetic field). Within NIR, two major areas can be distinguished:

  • optical radiation: ultraviolet light (wavelength about 100 to 400 nm), visible light (wavelength about 400 to 780 nm) and infrared light (wavelength about 780 nm to 1 mm); whenthis radiation is of artificial origin, we speak of artificial optical radiation or AOR
  • electromagnetic fields (EMF): EHF (extremely high frequency 1-10 mm), SHF (super high frequency 1-10 cm), UHF (ultra high frequency 10-100 cm), VHF (very high frequency 1-10 m), HF (high frequency 10-100 m), MF (medium frequency 100-1000 m), LF (low frequency 1-10 km), VLF (very low frequency from 10 to 100 km), ELF(extremely low frequency 100 km to infinite distance), Static

In practice, almost everyone is continuously being exposed to multiple sources of NIR. NIR is applied in the industry, science, medicine, energy- and traction systems, transmittersand telecommunication, displays and other lighting equipment ... Both biological effects with or without health damage may occur (EMF: influencing blood flow and nerve pulses for ELF, warming ELF to EHF; AOR: thermal and photochemical effects).



  • NBN EN 12198+A1:2009 (-1 to -3) Safety of machinery - Assessment and reduction of risks arising from radiation emitted by machinery
  • NBN EN 14255:2005 to :2008 (-1 to -4) Measurement and assessment of personal exposures to incoherent optical radiation
  • NBN EN 62471:2009 Photobiological safety of lamps and lamp systems (partially replaces NBN EN 60825-1, NBN EN 60825-1/A1 en NBN EN 60825-1/A2)
  • IEC 825 Safety of Laser Products (before 2002)
  • NBN EN 60825 Safety of Laser Products (after 2002)
  • BS EN 50383:2010 Basic standard for the calculation and measurement of electromagnetic field strength and SAR related to human exposure from radio base stations and fixed terminal stations for wireless telecommunication systems (110 MHz - 40 GHz)
  • BS EN 50385:2003 Product standard to demonstrate the compliances of radio base stations and fixed terminal stations for wireless telecommunication systems with the basic restrictions or the reference levels related to human exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (110 MHz - 40 GHz)
  • BS EN 50401:2006+A1:2011 Product standard to demonstrate the compliance of fixed equipment for radio transmission (110 MHz - 40 GHz) intended for use in wireless telecommunication networks with the basic restrictions or the reference levels related to general public exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields, when put into service
  • PPE eye-protection
    • EN 166 Specifications
    • EN 167 Optical testmethods
    • EN 170 UV (Personal eye-protection - Ultraviolet filters - Transmittance requirements and recommended use)
    • EN 171 IR (Personal eye-protection - Infrared filters - Transmittance requirements and recommended use)
    • EN 169 Filters for welding and related techniques - Transmittance requirements and recommended use
    • EN 175 Equipment for eye and face protection during welding and allied processes
    • EN 379 Personal eye-protection - Automatic welding filters
    • EN 207 Personal eye-protection equipment - Filters and eye-protectors against laser radiation (laser eye-protectors)
    • EN 208 Personal eye-protection - Eye-protectors for adjustment work on lasers and laser systems (laser adjustment eye-protectors)
    • ISO 6161 Laser
  • PPE screening
    • EN 12198-3+A1 Reduction of radiation by attenuation or screening
    • EN 12254 Laser (Screens for laser working places)
    • EN 1598 Welding (Transparent welding curtains, strips and screens for arc welding processes)
    • EN 60825-4 Laser guards
  • more information on http://www.nbn.be



  • Checklist AOR (artificial optical radiation) (Dutch) of Steven Van Cauwenberghe (FPS ELSD) and his other information regarding AOR (Dutch)
  • CatRayon4 (French) program of the INRS that allows to calculate exposure to artificial optical radiation at the work place and to choose protective equipment
  • Physical agents (Prof. T. Bernard)