What is Microwave Leakage and do I need to test for it?
Microwave leakage is exposure to high levels of microwave radiation. A microwave that is leaking radiation can lead to major health problems such as a weakened immune system, burns and cancer.
The 3rd edition of the IET Code of Practice dictated that:
"Microwave leakage should be checked at appropriate intervals"
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' and for that reason microwave in service leakage testing was removed."
It doesn't say however that it isn't required, and considering that the operative carrying out the microwave leakage testing was usually the same person carrying out the appliance testing, it is recommended that the test operative performs this microwave leakage test to ensure health and safety compliance.
Recommended limits are laid down in BS5175.
Safety interlock switches and the door seals should be inspected for any signs of damage to ensure that they function correctly and safely.
Testing of the microwave oven involves measurement of the radiation levels around the oven using a microwave leakage detector to ensure compliance with the 5 mW/cm2 limit. A microwave emission label is then normally attached to the appliance showing that the microwave radiation levels outside the appliance are acceptable for safe use.