Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

18.5 Safety With Fluorescent Lamps


18.5: Safety With Fluorescent Lamps

NoteThis activity is required for kids to earn the Fluorescent Minerals badge.

No one should look directly into a fluorescent lamp when it‘s turned on. While long-wave ultraviolet light (LW UV) is relatively harmless, short-wave ultraviolet light (SW UV) can 'sunburn' skin and eyes and cause irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin. Although protective glasses can shield eyes from harm, kids should be advised to limit time spent with UV light of any sort.

Teach kids to be safe, not sorry! They should learn to observe the following precautions in working with fluorescent lighting:

To prevent 'sunburn' on skin, limit exposure by limiting the time spent with fluorescent lighting, particularly SW UV, and limit the amount of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, museum gloves, etc.

Never look directly into an ultraviolet lamp when it‘s turned on, just as you should never stare directly into any light source. Eye irritation and damage can result. Always keep the light aimed away from your face.

Be aware that even if the lamp is pointed away from you, if it‘s aimed at a reflective surface, UV light can still be reflected back at you.

To further help prevent eye irritation when working with fluorescent lamps, wear protective eyeglasses, such as regular laboratory-style safety glasses, goggles, or even regular eyeglasses, and—again—limit time spent working with a fluorescent lamp turned on. The best sorts of glasses to use are those offering 99.9% UV protection.

If building a fluorescent mineral display case, tuck or angle fluorescent lamps where people can‘t look directly into them.

Have a glass front between the lamp and the viewer in a fluorescent mineral display case. Ordinary types of glass are usually effective at blocking some, but not all, SW UV light.