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Helping to use UV-C light in the fight against COVID-19
John Gielen
IEC TC 34 Vice-Chair John Gielen

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UV-C irradiation has hit the headlines as it is a very effective way to ensure that closed indoor spaces are cleansed of the virus. Hospitals, manufacturing plants, airports, aircraft and even some schools have been using various UV-C devices to destroy the virus in closed environments. Manufacturers around the world have been responding to the demand.

Using UV-C devices for germicidal purposes is not without risk, however. UV-C irradiation can cause injury to the skin and eyes if people are in the vicinity of the device for a too long period of time. The pandemic prompted both IEC and the Global Lighting Association (GLA) to act together quickly to limit the risks of using such equipment. A publicly available specification (IEC PAS 63313) has been issued as a result of these joint efforts.

IEC Technical Committee 34 Vice-Chair John Gielen explains how the PAS was developed: “the photobiological safety standard, IEC 62471, classifies UV-C safety, but there are no international standards with comprehensive specifications on how to use UV-C products in a safe way, especially in the presence of people. The GLA published a recommendations document which establishes the first guidelines based on the currently available state of the art information on UV-C light used for germicidal purposes. Its aim is to help manufacturers, installers and users to safely implement these devices. The GLA published the document in May last year and the IEC decided to adopt it as a Publicly Available Specification (PAS). The adoption process was super smooth and went very quickly: in less than a year we managed to get agreement from both the GLA and IEC on the PAS and how we should position it. We view it as a basis for future standards in collaboration with other organizations.”

 For more on this topic read the e-tech article.


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