TESTING MICROWAVE OVENS
Why do we have to test Microwave Leakage?
Microwave ovens can be heavily used and sometimes abused in a busy kitchen catering for a number of staff and customers. They can in time become damaged and even corroded, if not looked after properly.
It is not unusual to see microwave ovens with broken door hinges, damaged or missing door seals, broken door catches or even cracks to the door glass.
Whilst these ovens are designed and manufactured to operate normally and seal in the Microwaves, it is important that there are no gaps in this metallic seal. When injury from exposure to microwaves occurs, it usually results from dielectric heating induced in the body, the same heating that cooks food.
Exposure to microwave radiation can produce cataracts by affecting the lens in the eye. Exposure to heavy doses of microwave radiation (as from an oven that has been tampered with to allow operation even with the door open) can produce heat damage in other tissues as well, up to and including serious burns which may not be immediately evident because of the tendency for microwaves to heat deeper tissues with higher moisture content.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states:
“Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst at work”
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states:
“Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states:
“As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as reasonably practicable, such danger.”
The only way to make sure that the microwave oven is working safely is to check its leakage.
How we do we test Microwave Ovens?
A large mug of water is placed in the microwave oven which is then put on maximum power for a minute. A suitably calibrated Microwave Checker is then used to scan the door seals and the front glass. This will indicate if the level of Microwaves leaking out is within an acceptable safe level which is 5 mw/sq. cm
Microwave ovens are designed to switch off instantly as soon as the door is opened. It is very important to check that this is working.