IEC publishes an international standard designed to combat the use of UV-C lamps in the COVID-19


Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2019, UV-C radiation has been in the news as a very effective way to ensure the purification of enclosed indoor Spaces.  Hospitals, factories, airports, airplanes and even some schools have been using various UV-C devices to destroy viruses in enclosed environments.  Manufacturers around the world are responding to the demand.

However, the use of UV-C devices for bactericidal purposes is not without risks.  Uv-c radiation can cause skin and eye damage if people spend too much time near the equipment.  The outbreak prompted THE IEC and the Global Lighting Association (GLA) to take swift action to control the risks of using such equipment.  As a result of a concerted institutional effort, IEC has published IEC PAS 63313 (a publicly available specification).

John Gielen, Vice Chairman of the IEC/TC 34 Technical Committee, explains how the PAS was formulated:  “The IEC 62471 Standard on Photobiosafety classifies the safety of UV-C lamps, but there is no international standard for comprehensive specifications on how to use UV-C products safely, especially in the presence of humans.  The GLA has published an advisory document that develops the first guidelines based on the latest information currently available on UV-C lamps for sterilization.  The goal is to help manufacturers, installers and users safely use these devices.  The GLA published this document in May last year and IEC decided to adopt it as a publicly available specification (PAS).  The adoption process went very well and very quickly: in less than a year we managed to get both the GLA and the IEC to agree on the PAS itself and how we should position PAS.  We see it as a basis for working with other organizations to develop future standards.”

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