The sometimes forgotten appliance
Microwaves are generally an appliance that get overlooked in terms of ensuring maintenance, especially the leakage level. This could in some cases can be dangerous, as they are often one of the most heavily used items that are found on site in a kitchen or catering environment.
What we expect from microwaves
Microwave ovens are originally designed and manufactured to seal in microwave radiation to prevent any harmful radiation from leaking both inside and outside of the appliance. So it is absolutely crucial that there are no gaps in their metallic seals..
Common damage from wear and tear
Where there has been heavy usage over a long period of time, there is in most cases, room for damage and deterioration. Most microwaves will usually show signs of wear and tear that generally get ignored, as they still tend to "function". However, if not properly tested, these microwaves could be causing more harm than you think.
Examples of injury to occupants
When any injury to a person from exposure to microwave radiation occurs, it has usually resulted from dielectric heating induced in the body. This is the same heating that cooks food. Exposure to harmful microwave radiation can be known to produce cataracts by affecting the lens in the eye. Heavy exposure to harmful microwave radiation however, can in some cases lead to heat damage to tissue in other parts of the body..This including serious burns which may not always be too noticeable, because of the tendency for microwaves to effect deeper tissues.
Testing for leakage
For those reasons above alone, it is very important to make sure that leakage levels from
microwaves are checked when they are in use. Like PAT Testing, this testing should be performed ideally by an experienced, competent professional, using a suitably calibrated microwave leakage tester.
Testing is to be performed by placing a large mug of water in the microwave oven, whilst putting it on maximum power for a minute. The calibrated microwave leakage tester will then be used to scan door seals and the front glass. This gives the individual carrying out the testing an indication as to the level of microwaves leaking.
Hopefully, the level of of microwaves leaking, is within the safe level (5 mw/sq.cm), this would mean that the microwave leakage level is acceptable.
It is also important to note that microwaves should be completely turning off as soon as the door is open. Alongside leakage testing, it should be checked that this is occurring.
Once all testing and checks have been completed, it is vital, that again, like PAT Testing, the appliances are appropriately labelled, this to indicate that both leakage tests and interlock checks have been performed.
If you think that you may require microwave leakage tests, we provide this service alongside our PAT Testing, just contact us and let us know that you'd like to to include it - 01604 696113.