Ultraviolet light guidelines

Read our guidelines about staying safe around ultraviolet (UV) light.

Don't expose yourself to damaging UV

  1. The biological effects of exposure to UV radiation are dependent on the wavelength of the radiation. As the penetration of UV radiation is small, the effects are limited to the eyes and skin. 
  2. The principle effect of excessive exposure is kerato-conjunctivitis which is more commonly known as 'snow-blindness'. The symptoms are similar to that resulting from grit in the eyes and an aversion to bright light.  The cornea and conjunctiva show inflammation.
    • When using UV irradiation to examine agarose and acrylamide gels, take care not to expose the eyes to direct light or any reflection of it. Wear the provided full face masks that absorb UV light. 
  3. The other principle source of UV radiation are the germicidal UV lamps fitted to class II and laminar flow hoods. Be sure that the protective perspex covers are in place before turning these lamps on. 
  4. Other sources of UV light to be aware of are the special bulbs used in spectrophotometers, fluorometers and electrical arcs.   
  5. The hazard from ozone generated by UV lights can be minimised by ensuring that there is adequate ventilation.

Note: Some lasers emit UV radiation and might be restricted.

For guidance, please check our laser safety protocol.

Document Control
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: Dec 2019
Next Review: Dec 2022
Owner: hsw@auckland.ac.nz
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing