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Laser Safety - Training and Operating Procedures
Safety Instruction Number:71
Last Update:Wed, 09/12/2007
Laser Safety Training
OSU Investigators who use lasers or laser systems are responsible for assuring that appropriate training is provided and documented for all individuals who operate or will be in the controlled area during the operation of the laser or laser system.
For any class 2 or above laser or laser system, the principal investigator (PI) is responsible for the direct supervision, training, and documentation of training for all new or inexperienced laser users, including faculty, staff, students, and maintenance/service personnel. The level of supervision and training should correspond to the degree of potential laser hazards. The following topics should be discussed:
- Fundamentals of laser operation (e.g., physical principles, construction, standard operating procedures, laboratory rules, etc.)
- Biological effects of laser radiation on the eye and skin
- Hazards presented by specular and diffuse reflections
- Other associated hazards of lasers (e.g., electrical, chemical, noise, etc.)
- Laser and laser system classifications
- Control measures
- Overall management and employee responsibilities
- OSU medical surveillance is required for all operators using class 3b or 4 systems
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if employees are working with or around high voltage systems.
Documentation training should be acknowledged by the PI and employee. These records should be maintained in the laboratory. EH&S should be informed of the training to enter into the OSU Safety Training database.
The PI must also train experienced laser operators using a laser or laser system for the first time. This training must include all of the topics referenced above as well as laser-specific procedures and control measures, laboratory rules, overall management and employee responsibilities, and medical surveillance practices. This training must also be documented and maintained by the PI. The ANSI Z136.1 4.4.3 standard requires laser training for all operators and repair staff for class 3b (>5mW) and 4 (>500 mW) laser systems.
Standard Operating Procedures
PIs who use or supervise the use of lasers or laser systems are responsible for ensuring that standard operating procedures are provided to all users of lasers in the following power classes:
- Class 4 - output >500 mW - continuance wave
- Class 4 - output >125 mJ in <0.25 sec - pulse laser
- Class 3b- output 5-500 mW - continuance wave
- Class 3b - output <125 mJ in <0.25 sec - pulse laser
These procedures may be provided in the manufacturer's operating manual and should be readily available in the laboratory.
If written procedures are needed, the following outline is provided to assist in the preparation of laser operating procedures. The procedure should include all lasers in a laser system, including any alignment lasers. This outline is for class 3b and 4 lasers or laser systems. Modifications of the outline will be necessary for lower class lasers.
Introduction - This section should contain basic information about the apparatus, including:
- Location of laser or laser system.
- Diagram of area layout.
- Description of each laser, including manufacturer, model and serial number, mode of operation, lasing medium, outputs, shielding lens, external mirrors and optical fibers as applicable.
- Purpose and intended application of beam(s).
- Identification of electrical, chemical and physical hazards.
- Analysis of hazards (target area, absorbing media, beam path, severity of potential accidents, etc.).
- Access (door interlocks, signs, signals, emergency power shutdown, visitors)
- Beam (key-lock, enclosures, shutters, stops)
- Electrical (light on power supply, HV signs, maximum HV)
- Eye Protection (type of eyewear, optical density required for beam)
- Ventilation (laser head exhaust, vacuum pump exhaust, filter system, flow rates)
- Initial preparation of laboratory environment for normal operation (key position, warning lights on, interlock activated, identification of personnel).
- Personnel protection requirements (eyewear, protective barriers).
- Target area.
- Countdown procedures; protocol should be posted in a conspicuous location.
- Shutdown procedures; protocol should be posted in a conspicuous location.
- Special procedures (alignment, safety tests, interlock bypass, emergency, etc.)
- Laser Safety Orientation requirements
- Laser specific safety training requirements
- Training of maintenance and repair personnel
- Supervisory (include emergency contact)
- Rules for visitors
- Procedures in case of an accident
- Other (maintenance, adjustment, special precautions, etc.)