Microwave Leakage Testing – Is It Required In The Workplace?

9December 2019

Microwave Oven Testing

Microwave Leakage Testing

Should you keep microwave leakage testing on your maintenance agenda?

There’s no reason not to…

As with all equipment used in the workplace, the employer has a duty to inspect and maintain to ensure the safety of all.

This includes any electrical equipment used by employees, irrispective of whether it is their own, supplied by the company or leased.

It does not extend to to contractors tools, although more and more often it is becoming a requirement of construction and building sites that contractors prove PAT testing labelsthey have a regime of regular testing in place in order to use their own tools on site.

Microwave leakage testing was one of those checks that became linked to . After all, most offices and site cabins have a facility for heating up food, and a microwave oven is an ideal choice.

The 3rd edition of the IET Code of Practice stated that:

“Microwave leakage should be checked at appropriate intervals” and therefore became part of the portable appliance testing regime.

The 4th edition (2012) states:

“Microwave leakage testing is not within the remit of the Code of Practice, because it does not directly relate to ‘Electrical Safety”

As a result microwave in service leakage testing was removed.


So Should microwave leakage testing still be a part of your PAT programme?

Microwave radiation warning symbolConsidering that microwave leakage potentially exposes the user to high levels of radiation which can cause major health problems including burns, cancer and a weakened immune system then periodic testing of emissions shouldn’t be ignored. Especially when the same person who carries out the electrical PAT test would be quite capable and qualified to carry out the leakage test at the same time.

After all, just because the requirement for leakage testing has been removed from the IET Code of Practice, it doesn’t actually say it shouldn;t be done. Therefore as an employer, it would be prudent to err on the side of caution and treat microwave testing with the same diligence as other workplace equipment.

What requires testing?

The requirements are laid down in BS5175 and state that items to be checked for sign of failure include door seals and safety interlock switches.

The actual testing for leakage requires the use of a hand held electronic detectorMan ready to test appliances which is swept around the oven (particularly the door seal) to ensure that any radiation being emmitted falls within the tolerance of 5mW/cm2.

An emmission label would then be attached to the oven stating that it is safe to operate.

And last but not least

Man recording test informationWe all have a role to play in effective health and safety, and for those actively involved in promoting safe working practices it can be a rewarding, interesting and varied role.

Please visit this site often where you will find a growing number of articles, resources, advice and opinion.

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Due to the ever-changing nature of regulations and the law, please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/ for the very latest information and updates.



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