Human Exposure Standard
Testing and test reports enable a supplier to demonstrate that a product complies with the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation-Human Exposure) Standard 2014 (the Human Exposure Standard).
The Human Exposure standard sets limits for the radiation from specified products predicated on their normal position when being used. Products that are held close to the head such as mobile phones will have different limits to products that are used close to the torso or some distance from the body.
For a supplier, testing to the Human Exposure Standard requires a thorough understanding of: the technical parameters of the product (power, frequency of operation, modulation)—who is expected to use the product, and how the product is normally used (for example, is it held within 20cm of the human body in normal use?).
The Human Exposure Standard mandates the exposure limits set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) in its Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3kHz to 300 GHz (2002) (the ARPANSA Standard). The Human Exposure Standard also references a number of EN and IEC standards, depending on the appropriate testing methodology for the product.
The Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling - Electromagnetic Radiation) Notice 2014 (the EME LN) recognises three compliance levels:
- Compliance level one – a category A device
- Compliance level two – a category B device for which the normal position is more than 20cm from the human body
- Compliance level three – a category B device for which the normal position is not more than 20cm from the human body.
Category A devices are:
- aware user products that are not required to be evaluated under section 5.2 to Schedule 5 to the ARPANSA standard or
- non-aware user products that are not required to be evaluated under section 5.3 to Schedule 5 to the ARPANSA standard.
Note: In May 2016, the ARPANSA Standard was revised to extend the scope of Schedule 5 to include equipment operating up to 6 GHz. More information is available on the Changes to ARPANSA Standard Schedule 5 page.
Category B devices are products within the scope of the arrangements that are not category A devices.
Aware users are users occupationally exposed to radiocommunications or with adequate training in the use of radiocommunications products. Non-aware users are normally the general public. Detailed explanations of the meaning of aware and non-aware users are contained in the ARPANSA standard.
Each compliance level specifies the evidence a supplier must obtain to demonstrate that the product complies with the Human Exposure Standard. The compliance levels correspond to the risk associated with the supply of products that are not compliant with the Human Exposure Standard. The higher the compliance level, the greater the risk presented by non-compliant products. The greater the compliance level, the more stringent the testing and record-keeping requirements for evidence of compliance.
The documentary evidence required for each compliance level is set out on the Record-keeping – EME page.
Conducting the test
The types of tests that must be conducted to establish that a product complies with the Human Exposure Standard depend on the normal position during use. The following test methods apply:
Products used in close proximity to the human ear:
- human exposure to radio frequency fields from hand-held and body-mounted wireless communication products. Human models, instrumentation and procedures. Part 1— Procedure to determine the specific absorption rate (SAR) for hand-held products used in close proximity to the ear (frequency range of 300 MHz to 3 GHz). EN 62209–1 or IEC 62209–1
- if a product is designed or intended by the supplier to be used in close proximity to the ear and if IEC 62209–1 or EN 62209–1 does not include a methodology for measurement in multi-band transmission mode, the product must be tested using the test methodology described in IEC 62209–2 or EN 62209–2.
Products used 20 cm or less from the human body:
- Human exposure to radio frequency fields from hand-held and body-mounted wireless communication products. Human models, instrumentation and procedures. Part 2— Procedure to determine the SAR for wireless communication products used in close proximity to the human body (frequency range of 30 MHz to 6 GHz). EN 62209–2 or IEC 62209-2
Products used more than 20 cm from the human body:
- Assessment can be made against the reference field strength levels of the ARPANSA Standard. Such assessments must be in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2772.2 (available from SAI Global). Either measured or calculated results are acceptable for ACMA compliance purposes.
Accredited testing bodies
A testing body that is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) to conduct testing against an applicable standard.
NATA MRA Partners
A testing body that is accredited by an overseas regional accreditation cooperation with which NATA has an agreement for the mutual recognition of test reports.
NATA accreditation indicates the competence of the testing body to conduct specific types of testing, inspection, calibration and other related activities. Testing bodies are re-assessed regularly to maintain accreditation.
Details of current accredited testing bodies, MRA Partners and accredited overseas testing bodies are available on the NATA website.
Mutual Recognition Agreements
A testing body that is designated, notified or recognised, under an agreement about mutual recognition on conformity assessment to which Australia is a party, to conduct testing against an applicable standard.
The test report must include details of the tests conducted, the results of the tests (including any test data) and whether the results of the test confirm that the product meets the standard. The test report forms part of the documentary evidence confirming that the product meets the requirements of the Human Exposure Standard.
Compile compliance records.