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Laser Safety                 

EH&S Programs: Laser Safety Control Measures

adopted from ANSI Z136.1

Additional resource: General laser safety information in the NMSU Lab Safety Guide  

Laser Class 3a
  1. Engineering controls
    1.  protective housing shall be provided
    2.  warning labels shall be conspicuous
    3. interlocks shall be provided on removable parts of the housing
    4. a permanent beam stop or attenuator should be provided
    5. the area should be posted with the appropriate warning sign
    6. if the laser has a service access panel, it shall be interlocked or require a tool for removal
    7. if the MPE is exceeded, a temporary laser controlled area shall be devised
    8. if the MPE is exceeded, viewing portals and/or display screens shall be designed such that MPE is not exceeded
  2. Administrative and procedural controls
    1. education and training shall be provided for operators, maintenance and service personnel
    2. alignment procedures shall ensure that the MPE is exceeded
    3. if embedded Class 3b or 4 laser and the MPE is exceeded, service personnel shall comply with the control measures appropriate for the class of the embedded laser

Laser Class 3b

  1. Administrative and procedural controls
    1. education and training shall be provided for laser operators, maintenance and service personnel
    2. only authorized personnel shall service the laser
    3. alignment procedures shall ensure that the MPE to the eye is not exceeded
    4. control procedures shall be followed by service personnel
    5. the laser safety officer shall implement controls necessary to reduce exposure if the laser safety officer considers exposures to be excessive
    6. approved, written standard operaing, maintenance,, and service procedures should be developed
    7. appropriate eye protection should be required
    8. unauthorized persons should not be permitted within the controlled area

Laser Class 4

  1. 1. Engineering controls
    1. protective housing shall be provided
    2. interlocks shall be provided on removable parts of the housing
    3. service access panels shall be interlocked or require a tool for removal
    4. a key-controlled master switch shall be provided
    5. when the entire beam in not enclosed, a NHZ shall be established
    6. when there exists a partially limited beam path, a NHZ shall be established
    7. a permanent beam stop or attenuator shall be provided
    8. an alarm, warning light, or verbal countdown shall be used during use or start-up of the laser
    9. the controlled area shall:
      1. be restricted to authorized personnel only
      2. be designed to allow for rapid emergency egress
      3. be equipped with a device that allows for deactivation of the laser or reduction of output to below the MPE
      4. be designed to fulfill Class 3b controlled area requirements
      5. be designed with entry safety controls
    1. the laser should be monitored and fired from a remote location
    2. if used outdoors, a Class 4 laser shall:
      1. have an established NHZ
      2. be restricted from the presence of unauthorized personnel if the MPE is exceeded
      3. have appropriate controls if personnel are permitted in the NHZ
      4. have a beam path that is not at eye level with sitting or standing persons
      5. be terminated by a beam stop, if possible
      6. be disabled when not in use
      7. be operated only by authorized personnel
      8. be evaluated for necessary personnel protective equipment in inclement conditions
      9. have warning labels in a conspicuous place
      10. have a warning system which activates prior to emergence of the beam
    1. if the MPE is exceeded:
      1. viewing portals and/or display screens shall be designed so as not to exceed the MPE
      2. collecting optics shall be designed so as not to exceed the MPE
  2. Administrative and procedural controls
    1. approved, written standard operating, maintenance, and service procedures shall be required
    2. education and training shall be provided for operators, maintenance, and service personnel
    3. only authorized personnel shall operate, maintain or service the laser
    4. alignment procedures shall ensure that the MPE for the eye is not exceeded
    5. eye protection shall be required
    6. spectators shall be prevented from the controlled area
    7. service personnel shall comply with control procedures
    8. the laser safety officer shall take measures to reduce output if the output is considered to be excessive

* For specific information on laser control measures, refer to ANSI Z136.11

Additional resource: General laser safety information in the NMSU Lab Safety Guide