SC22 - Working with lasers
06 Dec 2010
Yes
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Working With Lasers

No
 

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Contents

Revisions

1​Initial launchDecember 2008
1.1.2Minor revision to comply with DDA regsNovember 2011
1.1.3Changes to training matrixJanuary 2013
1.1.4Changes to audit checklistMay 2013
1.1.5Change to LNP training requirementsFebruary 2014
1.2
Add Document Retention policy AppendixDecember 2014
1.3
Changes to reflect EN 60825-1 and white light lasers​
July 2016
​1.4
​Update to reflect launch of SHE Assure
​October 2018​

1. Purpose

Lasers emit beams of non-ionising radiation at wavelengths spanning the ultraviolet to the far infrared. The skin and eyes are at risk of injury; thermal burns from visible or infrared laser beams or photo-chemical burns from ultraviolet laser beams. For lasers in the visible or near infrared part of the spectrum there is a particular risk of damage to the retina of the eye, resulting in permanent visual impairment. The power of laser beams, particularly pulsed lasers, can be so high that not only the main beam but also weak reflections and diffusely scattered radiation can be hazardous.

Lasers are a flexible research tools which enjoy wide use across all disciplines. For lasers whose output presents a significant risk of harm, this flexibility and breadth of use combined with continuing evolution (e.g. higher output from physically smaller devices) creates unique challenges to the control of the laser hazard, in many cases preventing a rigid prescriptive approach to laser safety and relying instead on detailed risk assessment, a mix of engineering and administrative control, and laser safety eyewear to address residual risks.

2 Scope

This Code is applicable to all staff, contractors, users and tenants working with lasers at STFC sites.

There are no health and safety regulations specific to the safe use of lasers, but there is an international user guide TR 60825-14: 2004 'Safety of laser products: Part 14 - A user's guide' which sets out current best practice.

This Code embodies the guidance provided in TR 60825-14, translating its general guidance into STFC requirements and defining the responsibilities of those persons appointed to carry out specific laser safety duties. The Code does not address the compliance issues for the laser manufacturer covered in EN 60825-1:2007 'Safety of laser products: Part 1- Equipment classification and requirements'. Other relevant laser safety references are listed in Appendix 17.

This Code deals principally with the beam hazards of using lasers (see Appendix 1); it refers to but does not deal with associated (non-beam) hazards of laser use, including electrical, chemical and secondary radiation hazards. These hazards are described in more detail in Appendix 2, and details of safety precautions relating to these hazards can be found in the relevant SHE Safety Codes.

Risk assessment plays a particularly important part in the selection of appropriate laser hazard control measures. The general Risk Assessment process, SHE Code 6 'Risk Management' applies, but should be implemented in conjunction with the guidance provided in Appendix 11 (PDF - 70kB - link opens in a new window).

3 Definitions

3.1 High Risk lasers

Class 3B and 4 laser products

3.2 Low Risk lasers

Embedded, Class 1M, 2, 2M and 3R laser products

3.3 No Risk lasers

Intrinsic Class 1 laser products and Class 1 consumer products that contain a laser of a higher class (e.g. desk top laser printer, LED printer or photocopier, compact disc or DVD player or recorder) which are serviced only off site

3.4 Embedded lasers

Laser products that contain a Class 3B or Class 4 laser but which, because of engineering features limiting accessible emissions, have been assigned as Class 1. However if these lasers are to be aligned, modified or serviced on site then additional precautions need to be taken as laid out in Appendix 6 (PDF - 489kB - link opens in a new window).

3.5 Overall Laser Responsible Officer (OLRO)

A competent person appointed by the authority of the Director or equivalent, to oversee the control of laser radiation hazards and to be responsible for the implementation of this Code with respect to a defined area of laser installations and/or equipment

3.6 Laser Responsible Officer (LRO)

A competent person appointed to take on specified duties and supervisory responsibilities in respect to a laser area or activity.

3.7 Laser Nominated Person (LNP)

A competent person appointed to carry out specified laser work.

3.8 Laser Protection Adviser (LPA)

A competent person, knowledgeable and experienced in laser safety matters, who is called upon to assist the OLRO in the performance of his or her duties. The LPA may be an employee or an external consultant.

See Appendix 3 (PDF - 465kB - link opens in a new window) for a detailed explanation of laser classes.

A more comprehensive list of relevant technical terms can be found in Appendix 14 (PDF - 468kB - link opens in a new window).

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Directors shall:
  • 4.1.1 Establish a structure of responsible persons, as described below, to manage safety when working with lasers. These appointments can be made within a single department, several departments or across a whole site.
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  • Appointments
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  • 4.1.2 Delegate the implementation of laser safety responsibilities in one of the following ways, dependent on the size and complexity of laser activities:
    • Appoint in writing (template appointment letter (Word document - 192kB - link opens in a new window)) a single person to take on the duties of Overall Laser Responsible Officer (OLRO), recording their names in SHE Directory (link opens in a new window).
      Appoint in writing (template appointment letter) a single person to take on the duties of Overall Laser Responsible Officer (OLRO), recording their names in SHE Directory.
    • Appoint more than one OLRO provided that the duties of each do not overlap. Such an option might be useful, for example, if there are several major groupings of laser activities.
    • Combine the duties of the OLRO with those of a Laser Responsible Officer (LRO). This option might be appropriate if there is only one small laser activity.
4.2 Supervisors and Line Managers shall:
  • 4.2.1 Ensure that the requirements of this Code are met with regard to laser work for which they are responsible.
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  • Appointments
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  • 4.2.2Appoint in writing (in conjunction with the OLRO) one or more Laser Responsible Officers (LROs) and deputies as appropriate (template appointment letter (Word document - 192kB - link opens in a new window)), to provide day-to-day supervision of all High Risk (see Section 3.1) laser activities and record their names in SHE Directory (link opens in a new window). Where more than one LRO is appointed, their duties must not overlap. Line managers and supervisors may take on the role of LRO.
    4.2.2 Appoint in writing (in conjunction with the OLRO) one or more Laser Responsible Officers (LROs) and deputies as appropriate (template appointment letter), to provide day-to-day supervision of all High Risk (see Section 3.1) laser activities and record their names in SHE Directory. Where more than one LRO is appointed, their duties must not overlap. Line managers and supervisors may take on the role of LRO.
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  • Control of changes to Laser work
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  • 4.2.3 Ensure that before significant changes are made to laser activities (e.g. additional High Risk lasers, major reorganisation of laser layouts etc): an outline safety case is prepared; adequate facilities are available for safe use; and the necessary documentation is prepared and submitted to the OLRO.
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  • Training users of low risk lasers
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  • 4.2.4 Ensure that persons working with Low Risk lasers, for which no LRO is responsible, receive sufficient training in the safe use of lasers (See Appendix 15).
4.3 Overall Laser Responsible Officers shall:
  • 4.3.1 Implement this Code within the scope of their letter of appointment. This includes the following duties, which may be undertaken with the assistance of a Laser Protection Advisor.
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  • Advice
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  • 4.3.2 Advise and liaise with the Director, Line Managers and Supervisors on laser safety matters.
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  • 4.3.3 Advise Line Managers and Supervisors on the appointment of LROs, particularly with regard to the scope of their approved activities.
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  • 4.3.4 Advise and support LROs in the discharging of their laser safety responsibilities.
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  • Incidents and accidents
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  • 4.3.5 Assist the Director, Line Managers and Supervisors in the investigation of any laser-related safety incidents.
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  • 4.3.6 Establish procedures to ensure that in the event of an apparent or suspected laser injury to the eye, a medical examination by a qualified ophthalmologist is carried out within 24 hours.
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  • Arrangements
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  • 4.3.7 Ensure that arrangements are in place for: training LROs and LNPs ( Appendix 15); laser classification (if appropriate); inspection of new laser facilities; and regular audits of laser areas.
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  • Control of changes in laser use
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  • 4.3.8 Review outline safety cases for the acquisition or major reorganisation of High Risk laser equipment.
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  • 4.3.9 Review laser safety implementation before and after commissioning of new or significantly changed High Risk laser equipment, checking that the necessary laser safety documentation as set out in Appendix 12 (PDF - 96kB - link opens in a new window) has been updated accordingly.
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  • Relaxations of the Code
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  • 4.3.10 Approve discretionary relaxations from requirements of this Code provided justification is made in writing by the LRO and approved by the responsible Line Manager or Supervisor.
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  • Inspections
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  • 4.3.11 Undertake/arrange regular (every 18 months) inspection/audit of High Risk laser activities as set out in Appendix 16
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  • 4.3.12 Distribute the reports of inspections and audits as appropriate e.g. to Director, safety committees, Line Managers or Supervisors, LROs, SHE Group etc.
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  • 4.3.13 Monitor the recommendations/findings, from any inspections and audits against deadlines for completion.
4.4 Laser Responsible Officers shall:
  • 4.4.1 Take on specified duties and responsibilities for the day-to-day implementation of this Code for the laser area and/or activity for which they have been appointed.
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  • Appointments and training
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  • 4.4.2 Where appropriate, appoint Laser Nominated Persons (LNPs) to undertake specific tasks, setting out in writing (template appointment letter (Word document - 192kB - link opens in a new window)), prior to commencement of their work, the constraints on their activities, recording their names in SHE Directory (link opens in a new window). LNPs may be given specific titles (e.g. Target Area Operator, Visiting Laser User) if this helps clarify their role.
    4.4.2 Where appropriate, appoint Laser Nominated Persons (LNPs) to undertake specific tasks, setting out in writing (template appointment letter), prior to commencement of their work, the constraints on their activities, recording their names in SHE Directory. LNPs may be given specific titles (e.g. Target Area Operator, Visiting Laser User) if this helps clarify their role.
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  • 4.4.3 Provide on the job training to all LNPs before they begin laser work, including a review of Standing Orders.
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  • 4.4.4 Approve the proposed work of LNPs and the laser/experimental arrangements and activities prior to commencement of their work.
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  • 4.4.5 Ensure that LNPs are suitably supervised when carrying out their work and where appropriate rescind their appointment in the event of cases of breaches in safe practice.
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  • 4.4.6 Ensure that all those working with High Risk lasers are aware of the procedures for real or suspected eye injuries (see Appendix 10 (PDF - 290kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • Establishing safe working with High Risk lasers
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  • 4.4.7 Identify both the beam hazards (Appendix 1) and the non-beam hazards (Appendix 2) and produce a risk assessment and Standing Orders for each work area or activity (Appendices 11 (PDF - 70kB - link opens in a new window), 12 (PDF - 96kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • Based on the results of the risk assessment:
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  • 4.4.8 Establish a Designated Laser Area (Appendix 7 (PDF - 468kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • 4.4.9 Implement controls for normal laser operation (Appendix 5 (PDF - 506kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • 4.4.10 Implement additional controls for specific High Risk laser activities ( Appendix 6 (PDF - 489kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • 4.4.11 Ensure the proper design and placement of laser safety labels ( Appendix 8 (PDF - 504kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • 4.4.12 Ensure availability of appropriate laser safety eyewear and its proper storage and maintenance (Appendix 9 (PDF - 465kB - link opens in a new window)).
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  • Changes in laser work
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  • 4.4.13 Before implementing major changes in a Designated Laser Area or making significant changes to laser activities (e.g. additional High Risk lasers, major reorganisation of laser layouts etc), prepare and submit an outline safety case to the OLRO.
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  • 4.4.14 After completion of the changes, complete and submit to the OLRO the new/revised risk assessment and standing orders prior to first operation.
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  • 4.4.15Ensure that devices with the capability to emit laser radiation, including OEM lasers (i.e. devices that are supplied unclassified and without safety features for the purpose of incorporation into another piece of equipment) are classified or have had their classification confirmed to EN 60825-1, preferably by a EU-based manufacturer or agent, prior to their first use on site. Until such confirmation is obtained a device with the capability to emit laser radiation should be treated as Class 4.

    For green beam laser pointers see also A5.2.3.6.
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  • Documentation
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  • 4.4.16 Prepare full laser safety documentation ( Appendix 12 (PDF - 96kB - link opens in a new window))
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  • 4.4.17 Keep all laser safety documentation up to date, review the documents at least annually and forward copies of reissued documents to the Line Manager or Supervisor.
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  • 4.4.18 Maintain lists of Laser Nominated Persons
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  • 4.4.19 Ensure that Standing Orders for an area are made readily available to users of the area.
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  • 4.4.20 For LNPs about to undertake laser work, ensure that the methods, procedures and aims are first agreed and that signatures to this agreement are obtained.
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  • 4.4.21 Issue Permits to Work.
4.5 Laser Nominated Person (staff, tenant, user or contractor) shall:
  • 4.5.1 Be familiar with and abide by the Standing Orders for the area in which they work, and follow the prescribed procedures for the equipment that they are using.
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  • 4.5.2 Work within the constraints placed upon their activities by the LRO.
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  • 4.5.3 Undertake training as requested by the LRO.
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  • 4.5.4 Not make any significant changes to laser beam paths, beam wavelengths or safety devices, nor introduce new lasers to the laboratory without the authorisation of the LRO.
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  • 4.5.5 Inform their line manager or person responsible for their health and safety of any pre-existing eye condition they may have, since this could affect the risk assessment.
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  • 4.5.6 Be conversant with and follow the procedures for real or suspected eye injuries (see Appendix 10 (PDF - 290kB - link opens in a new window))


Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,CSD)