Laser Safety Program
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) has developed this Program to ensure compliance and the safe operation of Class 3B and 4 lasers. The Program requirements are derived from the American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers (ANSI Z136.1 - 2014).
This Program applies to all Indiana University laser users who work with Class 3B or 4 lasers at the Indiana University facilities.
- University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) is responsible for
- Identifying a Laser Safety Officer (see Appendix A) for each respective campus;
- Establishing and communicating laser safety requirements;
- Determining hazard control measures for new laser systems;
- Providing laser safety training;
- Conducting periodic audits to ensure compliance with laser safety requirements; and
- Investigating and determining appropriate corrective actions for any laser incidents.
- Principal Investigators are responsible for
- Registering each laser or laser modification with IUEHS for their respective campus by completing and submitting Form LS-1 (Appendix D-1);
- Restricting access to lasers to personnel who have completed training requirements described in Section 4.0 of this Program;
- Ensuring that the laser is operated safely and in accordance with all University requirements as detailed in this Program;
- Developing, for each laser, a written standard operating procedure that incorporates “specific” safety considerations and provide training to each laser user on these procedures;
- Providing and requiring the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, such as eye protection, for all laser users during beam alignment and other high risk operations;
- Ensuring that each laser user completes the required training and maintaining the training document form; and
- Notifying IUEHS for your respective campus of any conditions that could compromise safety or compliance with this Program.
- Laser Users are responsible for
- Completing Laser Safety training provided by IUEHS;
- Reading and understanding this Program;
- Completing laser specific training provided by the Principal Investigator before operating the laser;
- Operating the laser safely and in accordance with all requirements contained in this Program and the specific standard operating procedures for that laser; and
- Notifying the PI of any conditions that could comprise safety or compliance with this Program.
Laser Hazard Control Measures
Indiana University has adopted as requirements the recommendations of ANSI Z136.1 for hazard control measures for lasers. The ANSI standard specifies various engineering, administrative and procedural controls; as well as protective equipment for lasers and laser systems according to their hazard class. The intent of these controls and equipment is to ensure that the exposure of individuals who work with lasers is at or below the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE).
- Engineering Controls—All Classes
A protective housing with appropriate warning label shall be provided and utilized for all lasers except for certain applications, such as in research and development, where operation of the laser without a housing is necessary.
- Engineering Controls—Class 3B and 4
A safety interlock shall be provided for any portion of the protective housing which, by design, can be removed during normal operation.
Service access panels permitting direct access to laser radiation shall be interlocked or shall require a tool for removal.
A key-actuated master interlock shall be provided for system operation.
All viewing portals and display screens included as an integral part of the laser system shall incorporate a suitable means (such as interlocks, filters, attenuators) to maintain the laser radiation for all operating conditions at or below the MPE.
The beam shall be enclosed to the extent possible for the specific application. Where this is not possible, a Nominal Hazard Zone (NHZ) with appropriate control measures, as determined by the IUEHS Laser Safety Officer for your respective campus, shall be established and observed.
A permanently attached beam stop, capable of reducing the laser radiation to levels below the applicable (MPE) shall be provided at the laser exit port.
A warning light or alarm, electrically interfaced to the power supply, shall indicate laser start-up and operation.
- Additional Engineering Controls—Class 4
- In situations where the beam is not completely enclosed, operation shall occur only in a light-tight area with interlocked entrances, remote controls, and "panic button" for emergency deactivation of the system.
- Beam stops shall consist of diffuse-reflecting, fire resistant materials.
- Adequate ventilation of the operation area shall be provided.
- Administrative and Procedural Controls—Class 3B and 4
Written standard procedures for operation, service, and maintenance of the laser system shall be developed by the Principal Investigator and observed.
All individuals who will operate or service the laser system shall be provided with training which includes information on the potential hazards of the system and the appropriate controls to be utilized in minimizing these hazards.
All entrances to areas with laser systems shall be posted with appropriate warning signs
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- See Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Eye protection devices, which are specifically designed for protection against radiation from Class 3B and 4 lasers, shall be provided to and worn by laser users when engineering or other procedural and administrative controls are inadequate to eliminate potential exposure in excess of the applicable MPE (see Table 3 in the Appendix C-3 for selection criteria).
Windows that are located within the NHZ of a Class 3B or 4 laser shall be provided with appropriate filter, blocking barrier, or screen that reduces any transmitted laser radiation to levels below the applicable MPE level.
A barrier, screen, or curtain that can block or filter the laser beam at the entryway to the NHZ shall be used to prevent laser light from exiting the area at levels above the applicable MPE.
Each entrance to a room that contains a Class 3B or 4 laser shall be posted with an appropriate laser warning sign. ANSI Z136.1 recommends that signs and labels conform to a standard design, format, and content. In general, include the following information (see illustration below.)
- At position 1 above the tail of the sunburst, special precautionary instructions or protective action such as: Laser Protective Eyewear Required; Invisible Laser Radiation; Knock Before Entering; Do Not Enter When Light is On; Restricted Area
Alternatively, position 1 above the tail of the sunburst can indicate special precautionary instructions or protective actions required by the reader such as:
- For Class 2 and Class 3R lasers and laser systems where the accessible irradiance does not exceed the appropriate MPE based upon a 0.25 second exposure; Laser Radiation - Do not Stare into Beam or View with Optical Instruments.
- For all other Class 3R lasers and laser systems; Laser Radiation - Avoid Direct Eye Exposure.
- For all Class 3B lasers and laser systems; Laser Radiation - Avoid Direct Exposure to Beam.
- For Class 4 lasers and laser systems; Laser Radiation - Avoid Eye or Skin Exposure to Direct or Scattered Radiation.
- At position 2 below the tail of the sunburst, the type of laser (Ruby, Helium-Neon, Nd-YAG, etc.), or the emitted wavelength, pulse duration (if appropriate), and maximum output.
- At position 3, the class of the laser or laser system
Emergencies and Reporting Injuries/Illness
In the event of a life-threatening emergency at an Indiana University facility, call 911.
To seek medical treatment for an injury and/or illness that is not emergent, follow the procedures for your respective campus.
For any incident involving lasers, the Laser Safety Officer for the respective campus must be notified within 24 hours of the incident.
Prior to use of a Class 3B or 4 laser, users must complete training provided by IUEHS to ensure the safe use of this device. Specific training on each laser must be provided by the Principal Investigator.
The training shall consist of:
Reading the Laser Safety Training Guide
Completion of IUEHS online Laser Safety training,
Review of operating procedures and emergency procedures,
Review of the standard operating procedures for use and set-up and alignment, if applicable,
Selection and use of personal protective equipment, if required,
Identification and proper use of engineering controls,
Identification of administrative controls, including warning signs and lights,
Identification of non-laser safety hazards associated with the laser, and
For Laser Controlled Areas in which multiple lasers/wavelengths operate, advising the worker of other laser and non-beam hazards associated with other systems.
Documentation of training shall be maintained by the Principal Investigator (Appendix D-2). The risk assessment and hazard analysis will be maintained by IUEHS Laser Safety Officer for the respective campus.
- American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers (ANSI Z136.1 - 2014), The Laser Institute of America, Orlando, Florida, 1993.
- A Guide for Control of Laser Hazards, American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1990.
- Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, National Safety Council, Chicago, Illinois, 1988.
- Introduction to Health Physics, H. Cember, Pergamon Press, 1985.
- Safety with Lasers and Other Optical Sources, D. Sliney and M. Wolbarst, Plenum Press, 1981.
- Indiana University Personal Protective Equipment Policy
- Indiana University Laboratory Safety Policy
- IU Laser Safety Program - PDF
- Appendix A: Contacts
University Environmental Health and Safety
Name Title Phone Graham McKeen Interim Director – IU Bloomington (812) 856-5482 firstname.lastname@example.org Rebecca Spratt Director – IUPUI Indianapolis (317) 274-2829 email@example.com Kathryn Manteuffel Director – Regional Campuses (219) 981-4230 firstname.lastname@example.org
IU Bloomington and Regional Campuses
Name Title Phone General Information (812)855-6311 email@example.com
Laser Safety Officer
Name Title Phone Shawn Miya Laboratory Safety Specialist (812)856-9968 firstname.lastname@example.org
Name Title Phone Greg Crouch Radiation Safety Officer (812)855-3230 email@example.com
IUPUI and IUPU Columbus
Name Title Phone General Information (317)274-2005 firstname.lastname@example.org
Laser Safety Officer
Name Title Phone K Lee Stone Laboratory Safety Manager (317)278-6150 email@example.com
- Appendix B: Glossary
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - The technical body which releases the Z136.1 Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers.
Laser - Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A monochromatic, coherent beam of radiation not normally believed to exist in nature.
Laser Controlled Area - An area where the occupancy and activity of those within is subject to control and supervision for the purpose of protection from radiation hazards.
Laser Safety Officer (LSO) - A member of the IUEHS staff. The LSO is responsible for implementation of the Laser Safety Program.
Laser Use Registration (LUR) - The mechanism used by Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety to track lasers on campus. The LUR details the safety requirements for each Class 3B and 4 laser.
Laser User - Any person who uses a laser for any purpose at Indiana University.
Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) - The maximum level of radiation which human tissue may be exposed to without harmful effect. MPE values may be found in the ANSI Standard.
Nominal Hazard Zone (NHZ) - The area surrounding an operating laser where access to direct, scattered or reflected radiation exceeds the MPE.
Principal Investigator (PI) - The person directly responsible for the laser and its use. The Physician/Principal Investigator has direct responsibility for all aspects of safety associated with the operation of laser systems in either the clinical or laboratory environment.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS) - A document, required by law, which is supplied by the manufacturer of a chemical. The SDS details the hazards and protective practices required for protection from those hazards, as well as other information.
- Appendix C-1: – Table 1 (ANSI Z136.1)
Click to view table.
- Appendix C-2: Table 2 (ANSI Z136.1)
Click to view table.
- Appendix C-3: Table 3 (ANSI Z136.1)
Click to view table.
- Appendix D-1: Laser Registration Form (LS-1)
Click here for the form.
- Appendix D-2: Training Documentation Form (LS-2)
Click here for the form.
Revised: April 7, 2017