Division Title

Laser Safety

Laser Safety Program

Did you know that lasers produce monochromatic high intensity light beams? This energy source is frequently capable of causing significant eye damage, body burns and has the potential to cause electrical shock.

At NIH, laser use for research and medical treatments has grown dramatically over the last decade. With an increased use comes an increased potential in risks associated with laser use. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure safe laser use so that researchers can continue scientific and medical breakthroughs here at NIH. NIH Policy Manual 3036: Laser Safety Program provides guidance and oversight for the safe use of lasers and laser systems at the NIH.

As a laser user, the following is required on an annual basis:

  • Laser Safety Training.
  • A Laser safety inspection of your current laser setup.
  • Re-evaluation and update to your existing laser safety SOP.

The Laser Safety Program has been developed to provide guidance and oversight for the safe use of lasers and laser systems at the NIH.  The program is modeled after the ANSI guidelines established under Z.136-2014 and best practices.  The program focuses on the following areas: 

  • Inventory and registration of class 3b and 4 lasers used on NIH campuses. 
  • Verification and promotion of safe work practices regarding the use of lasers.
  • Laser safety training and equipment parameters for users.
  • Proper engineering controls and laser setup within laboratories. 

NIH Laser Users Responsibilities

  • Registration of lasers by contacting the laser safety program manager (online registration coming soon).
  • Completion of a general laser safety standard operating procedures (SOP) document which must be submitted to the laser safety program manager, kept in the laboratory where the laser is housed and reviewed on an annual basis by all users.

DOHS Laser Safety Services

  • Verification of laser(s) location and setup once registration has been completed.
  • Onsite inspection of the laser and evaluation of appropriate engineering controls and safe work practices.
  • Safety training to users of class 3b and 4 lasers.
  • A generic laser safety SOP document for completion by the laser users.

Laser Safety Training

Laser Safety Signage

Laser labs that use class 3b and/or class 4 lasers must post specific information using appropriate Laser Safety Signage. The templates below are designed for NIH personnel to modify the information appropriately and print for posting on their laser lab.

  • Class 3b Laser SignIf you have a laser lab with all class 3b lasers, use the class 3b signage only and list all lasers below the laser symbol with their power, wavelength and type.
  • Class 4 Laser Sign: If you have a laser lab with all class 4 lasers, use the class 4 signage only and list all lasers below the laser symbol with their power, wavelength and type.
  • Class 3b and Class 4 Laser Sign: If you have a laser lab with both class 3b and class 4 lasers in the same lab, use the class 4 signage, change the bottom of the sign to say class.

Laser Safety Database

For questions or obtaining access to the database, please contact ORS, DOHS at (301) 496-3353.

 

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