Optical Radiation 'Local Rules'
What are Local Rules?
Local rules are basically general procedures for the safe use of laser and other intense light equipment. They typically include information such as,
- Description of the hazard
- Definition of a designated working area
- Key contacts/personnel
- Key safety instructions
- Correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Meaning of signage
- Emergency procedures
- Refer to specific operating procedures for the actual activity
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, businesses with 5 or more employees must have written policies and procedures. Local rules, would typically sit between the "Health and Safety Policy", and the specific instructions for the particular activity.
Under the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010, it is a legal requirement to provide suitable training and instruction to employees. Written safety procedures (local rules) help demonstrate compliance with this requirement.
In Wales, businesses using laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) equipment must register with the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW). Under the National Minimum Standards For Private and Voluntary Healthcare Services, written safety procedures are required.
In London and Nottinghamshire, beauty salons/clinics and laser tattoo removal studios must obtain a 'special treatments licence'. Often the council will state that having 'local rules' in place is a condition of the licence. Whilst the requirement for local rules is not strictly a legal requirement, obtaining the licence is. Therefore on a practical level, local rules are required. A similar situation also exisits with RQIA registration in Northern Ireland.
Who should write the local rules?
Ideally, all business should take ownership and write policies and procedures themselves in order that they best suit their working practices. They should be concise and workable documents rather than seen as being written just to comply with the regulations.
We appreciate that writing policies and procedures can be very time consuming and even daunting. We therefore aim to assist in any way we can, for example by providing draft documents/templates and reviewing existing documentation.
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