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Laser Safety

Direct eye contact with the output beam from the laser will cause serious damage and possible blindness.

The safe use of lasers requires that all laser users, and everyone near the laser system, are aware of the dangers involved. The safe use of the laser depends upon the user being familiar with the instrument and the characteristics of laser light.

If the laser beam is reflected or scattered from various objects, it is very dangerous. Avoid physical contact with the laser beam. The high spectral intensity and short wavelength may cause tissue damage which is not immediately evident.

Do not permit any reflective object in the path of the beam. Scattering the beam from a reflective surface can be very damaging to the eyes or skin.

Block the beam when not in use.

Turn the beam off, preventing stray reflections from occurring either between experiments or when moving the laser.

If possible, have an enclosed path for the laser beam.

Always point the laser at a specific target, such as a power meter.

Limit access to the laser to qualified users who are familiar with laser safety practices and who are aware of the dangers involved.

Post warning signs indicating the laser is being used.

Never point the laser beam at anyones' eyes.

CDRH (Center for Devices & Radiological Health)

A department of the United States Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health establishes the safety regulations and requirements governing the manufacture of lasers and laser devices within the United States, along with many other responsibilities.


External Links

1. Lasers. Health Protection Agency information and advice on Lasers. It includes links to Frequently Asked Questions on lasers, laser safety Publications, Laser Safety Training Courses and a Laser Safety Forum.

2. Laser Pointers. Health Protection Agency information sheet for Laser Pointers. It includes details of the Laser Classification Scheme taken from the International Electrotechnical Commission IEC 60825-1 Edition 1.2, August 2001 standard. This was adopted in Europe as EN 60825-1+A11+A2+A1, July 2002 and subsequently in the UK as BS EN 60825-1: 1994 incorporating Amendment Numbers 1, 2 and 3, September 2002.

3. Lasers for use in Healthcare Facilities. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety's guide to laser use in healthcare facilities. The bookmarked section is a useful guide to the choice and use of laser safety eyewear and clothing and suggests referring to appropriate standards for further guidance.


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