The University of Texas at Dallas has established a Laser Safety Program to provide controls and safety guidance to relevant research and educational activities involving Lasers. The Laser Safety Program covers work with Class II, III, and IV lasers. Individuals working with such lasers must complete training which includes: fundamentals of laser operation, biological effects of laser radiation on the eye and skin, non-radiation hazards (e.g., fire hazards, chemical exposure), classification of lasers and laser systems, and control measures and personal protective equipment.
This Program is established to meet the requirements of 25 Texas Administrative Code 289.301 and prudent safety practice. If any conflict occurs between this Program and the Code, the latter shall prevail. Additional Guidance documents are available from ANSI (American National Standards Institute):
- Safe Use of Lasers (Z136.1)
- Safe Use of Optical Fiber…Diodes…LEDs (Z136.2)
- Safe Use of Lasers in Educational Institutions (Z136.5)
Principal investigators (PIs) who acquire or fabricate class 3B or 4 lasers at UT Dallas must apply for an License Authorization before beginning work and must enroll personnel authorized to use the equipment in the Laser Safety Program. To submit the form requesting your authorization:
- Print and complete a Laser Registration Form and submit to the Assistant Director of Lab Safety, Joan Wickersheim.
- Read the Laser Safety Manual for information you need to know about UT Dallas’ Laser Safety Program.
- Renew your License annually after initial approval. The Office of Research Compliance Assistant Director of Lab Safety will notify PIs when renewals are due.
High Powered Lasers
Class IIIb and IV lasers have the potential for presenting a wide range of hazards, depending on the type of laser and how it is used. Users of these lasers should attend a training session devoted to these types of lasers. The session is given in the individual laboratories, and includes a brief review of general laser safety principals, an evaluation of the lasers in use, a laser laboratory inspection, a review of personal protective equipment needed for the particular laser, and the calculation of maximum permissible exposure levels for eye and skin under all conditions of use.
All training courses are accessible through the Laboratory Management System. A NetID and registration with a UTD research laboratory is required for access. If you are visiting a campus lab or do not have a NetID, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Laser Safety (initial)||Required for individuals working with class 3b or 4 lasers||Classroom, by request|
|Laser Safety (refresher)||Required annually for individuals who have received initial hands-on training||Online|
Standard Operating Procedures
Prepare a written standard operating procedure (SOP). A written SOP is required for class 4 lasers and strongly recommended for class 3B lasers.
- Write a SOP for your laser or laser system.
- Read the UT Dallas Laser Safety Manual before writing your SOP.
- Adapt this sample SOP rather than starting from scratch.
- Include this information, at a minimum, in your SOP:
- A statement that Class 3B and 4 lasers may only be operated, maintained, and serviced by authorized personnel listed on the LUA, or by the manufacturer’s representative
- Emergency call list
- Description of safety features
- Description of protective equipment laser operators must use
- Specific operating procedures, from start-up to shut-down
- Specific alignment procedures
- Safety checklist, either provided with the equipment or developed by the PI
- Emergency instructions
- Keep the SOP near the laser, readily available for use by operators and service personnel.
- Survey the workplace periodically to ensure compliance with your SOP and laser safety requirements.
- Notify Laser Safety if the laser system will be modified, possibly resulting in additional laser hazards and a change in procedures.
Personal Protective Equipment
Provide and require use of appropriate personal protective equipment. The Assistant Director of Lab Safety, Joan Wickersheim, is available to assist PIs with hazard calculations and fit for correct eyewear as required for laser use approval.
- Eyewear: Laser safety eyewear is required in the presence of class 3B and 4 lasers. The eyewear must provide sufficient protection for the user.
- When selecting eyewear, consider:
- Wavelength of laser output
- Potential for multi-wavelength operation
- Optical density
- Visible light transmission
- Femto second rated, if applicable
- Peripheral vision
- Need for prescription glasses
- Degradation of absorbing media, such as photo-bleaching
- Capacity of the front surface to produce specular reflection
- Radiant exposure or irradiance and the corresponding time factors at which laser protective eyewear damage occurs, including transient bleaching
- Strength and shock-resistance of materials
- Comfort and fit
- Ensure laser protective eyewear is clearly labeled with the optical density values and wavelengths for which the equipment is intended.
- Inspect eyewear regularly for lens pitting and cracking that could compromise its ability to protect the wearer. Inspect the frame for mechanical integrity and light leaks.
- Contact Laser Safety, x 2173, if you have questions or would like help in selecting appropriate eye protection.
- When selecting eyewear, consider:
- Skin protection: Skin protection is required if personnel are likely to be chronically exposed to scattered ultraviolet light (UV), such as during excimer laser applications, or acutely exposed to levels greater that the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limit for skin.
- Important: Laser light can be attenuated by layered clothing. However, the nylon-based material used for many lab coats has a transmission level of 20% to 40%, and is not appropriate as personal protective equipment.
- Use leather gloves, aprons, and jackets for protection against UV exposure.
- Wear fire-resistant materials and UV protection for work with class 4 lasers.
- Other personal protective equipment may be required when engineering controls are insufficient. This may include:
- Hearing protection
For general questions, please contact the Assistant Director of Lab Safety, Joan Wickersheim at (972) 883-7238. Please contact us with questions regarding safety training requirements or offerings at email@example.com.
Weerasinghe Priyantha, Ph.D.,
Senior Safety Specialist,
laser safety;radiation safety;research compliance
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