Laser Safety Policy

Purpose and Application

This policy is designed to ensure the safe use of laser systems at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

This policy applies to individuals directly involved with the use of Class IIIb and/or Class IV lasers, as well as incidental laser workers (such as custodial or supervisory personnel).

Definition and Scope

“Laser” is defined as a device that produces an intense, coherent, directional beam of light by stimulating electronic or molecular transitions to lower energy levels: an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER).

“Class IIIb laser” is a laser that will cause eye or skin damage if the beam is viewed directly.

“Class IV laser” is a laser that can cause eye or skin damage during direct beam exposure or exposure to diffuse reflections or specular reflections

Roles and Responsibilities

Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) assists departments in developing and maintaining a laser safety program.

Each participating department that has a class IIIb or class IV laser must maintain inventory, register of users and appoint department laser safety coordinator (DSC). The DSC in coordination with EHS will conduct safety inspections, respond to training needs, post required laser warning signs and review/maintain records.

Each registered user is responsible for obtaining a laser eye exam, wearing appropriate eyewear, and conducting laser activities in a safe manner. Eye exams should be obtained from approved clinics and copy of the records be filed with employee's medical records at the Human Resource office.

Procedures

Laser Safety Programs
Participating departments must adopt the institutional and modify as necessary to detail department specific procedure. The program should be updated regularly.

Eye Exams
A preassigned eye exam establishes a baseline against which ocular damage may be measured. These examinations are performed by, or under the supervision of, an ophthalmologist. Eye examinations are also required for laser workers when they leave CSB/SJU. In the event of any accidental or suspected eye exposure to laser radiation, a thorough eye examination is conducted.

Laser Inventory and Registration
All users of Class III or IV lasers, and associated equipment, must be registered within the department and a copy of the registration forwarded to EHS office.

Hazard Controls
Applicable hazard controls are described in the Laser Safety Programs, depending upon the laser classification and operating conditions. All users and incidental workers are required to abide by the safety procedures and controls set out in the Programs.

Laser Safety Inspections
Periodic inspections are conducted of all Class III and Class IV lasers. At the CSB/SJU. DSC of EHS will conduct inspections.

Laser Safety Training
All persons who work with Class III and Class IV lasers are required to receive laser safety training. The online laser training provided by EHS should be supplemented by equipment-specific training provided by the  Laser faculty supervisors.

Laser Incidents
Any exposure incident involving lasers is immediately reported to the faculty supervisor or EHS.

Record Keeping
Training records, inventory and registration documentation, incident reports, and inspection logs are maintained by individual department and EHS. Records of individual eye exams are maintained at the Human Resources. Copies of equipment-specific training records are also maintained by laser faculty supervisors.

The documents listed below may be obtained from the Environmental Health and Safety office.