Division Title
Safety

Non-Ionizing Radiation

Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Program

The NIH Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Program (NIRP) is intended to minimize occupational exposure to non-ionizing radiation (NIR) by:

  • Providing employee information regarding the recognition, evaluation and control of the hazards associated with sources of NIR;
  • Reviewing plans for the installation of new sources of NIR;
  • When requested, provide affected employees with information regarding source-appropriate safety principles; and
  • Evaluating NIR levels when requested by employees or when sources are identified during safety surveys.

Sources of NIR located at NIH facilities include:

  • Telecommunication and data transfer antennas;
  • Microwave ovens;
  • High intensity magnets, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) devices;
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) devices ultraviolet lamps; and
  • Alternating current electromagnetic field sources such as electrical power lines, transformers, electrical panels, and electrical appliances.

The Office of Research Services (ORS), Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), Technical Assistance Branch (TAB) is the functional group responsible for managing the NIRP. A TAB industrial hygienist is assigned as the NIRP Manager. 


The NIRP Manager is responsible for the following:

  1. Provides and facilitates the development, promulgation and implementation of the NIRP.
  2. Provides consultative services related to the recognition, evaluation and control of NIR hazards and maintains appropriate NIR policy and guidelines.
  3. Conducts surveys for non-ionizing radiation and recommends exposure control measures.
  4. Reviews and updates the NIR program on an annual basis.
  5. Notifies employees of their non-ionizing radiation exposure when applicable.
  6. In conjunction with the Principal Investigator (PI) or responsible official:
    • Ascertains whether warning devices (signs, alarms, etc.) are necessary and assists in the selection of appropriate safety control measures.
    • Reviews major NIR equipment purchases (except microwave ovens) and related construction plans to ensure adequate hazard control. 
  7. Investigates accidents resulting from NIR operations.
  8. Ensures appropriate corrective actions are taken to prevent employee exposures exceeding recommended occupational levels.
  9. Maintains an inventory of non-ionizing radiation sources.

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