Latest update: 19/03/2021

Directive 2006/25/EC - artificial optical radiation

of 5 April 2006 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of the workers to risks arising from physical agents (artificial optical radiation, 19th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC).


This Directive aims to improve the health and safety of workers by laying down limit values for exposures of workers to artificial optical radiation to eyes and skin. Exposure to natural optical radiation (sunlight) and its possible health consequences are not covered by the Directive.


The Directive gives legal definitions on optical radiation, on wavelength ranges (visible, ultraviolet, infrared), on kinds of artificial optical radiation (laser radiation and non-coherent radiation), on exposure limit values whose compliance ensures the physical health of workers who are exposed to artificial optical radiation at work, and on parameters for measurement such as irradiation, radiance and radiant exposure.


The employer is obliged to assess and to measure (and/or to calculate) the levels of exposure to artificial optical radiation to which workers are likely to be exposed. Thereby he shall take account of

  • the level, wavelength range, duration of exposure to artificial sources of optical radiation and the exposure limit values set out in the Annexes of this Directive.
  • special circumstances such as multiple sources, indirect effects (blinding, explosion, fire), particularly sensitive risk groups of workers and possible effects resulting from workplace interactions between optical radiation and photosensitising chemical substances.
  • standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in respect of laser radiation respectively recommendations of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) in respect of non-coherent radiation.
  • principles of prevention set out in the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC.

Risk assessment shall be recorded on a suitable medium. It shall be furthermore carried out periodically and be updated, particularly if significant changes in working conditions can be observed or if it is indicated by health surveillance results.

The reduction of risks shall be based on the principles of prevention set out in the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC. Taking account of technical progress and of the availability of measures to control risk at source, the risks arising from exposure to artificial optical radiation shall be eliminated or reduced to a minimum. If the results of the risk assessment indicate that exposure limit values may be exceeded, the employer shall devise and implement an action plan comprising technical and organisational measures in order to prevent the exposure exceeding the limit values.

The employer shall ensure that workers who are exposed to risks from artificial optical radiation and their representatives receive any necessary information and training relating to the outcome of the risk assessment.

Member States shall adopt provisions to ensure appropriate health surveillance of workers in order to prevent and to detect timely any adverse health effects, long term health risks and any risk of chronic diseases resulting from the exposure to artificial optical radiation. Such health surveillance shall be done by a doctor, an occupational health professional or a medical authority. Individual health records are to be made.

Member States shall transform the Directive into national law until 27 April 2010.

Member States shall provide for adequate penalties to be applicable in the event of infringement of the national legislation adopted pursuant to this directive. These penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Read the full text of the consolidated version of the Directive (including later amendments)

Read the full text of the original Directive

National laws implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

See also further document of the European Commission on that topic:

Evaluation of the Practical Implementation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Directives in EU Member States - Directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (artificial optical radiation) (2017)