For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Laser Safety

green laser beam

The Laser Safety Program provides information on laser hazards and laser-related policies, procedures and recommendations for the safe use of lasers. Most of this information is based on the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) standard Z136.1-2000, American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers. The ANSI standard is the accepted standard for laser safety in the United States.

The primary objective is to ensure that no laser radiation in excess of the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) reaches the human eye or skin. Additionally, this program is designed to ensure that adequate protection against collateral hazards is provided. Collateral hazards include the risk of electrical shock, fire hazard from a beam or from use of dyes and solvents, and chemical exposures from use of chemicals and vaporization of targets.

Review the Laboratory Safety Manual [PDF] for a detailed discussion on the proper handling of laser systems.

Laser Registration

All laser users must complete the Laser Registration Form [PDF] for each Class 3b or 4 laser systems. The form must be sent to the LSO at The form must be updated when new users are assigned to the project or equipment.


Laser Safety Officer (LSO)

  • Administer the overall Laser Safety Program.
  • Maintain a current inventory of Class 3b and 4 lasers.
  • Accompany outside inspectors/regulators on laser safety inspections.
  • Perform laser hazard analyses.
  • Perform laser safety audits to ensure compliance with the policy.
  • Make recommendations to improve laser safety.
  • Restrict or terminate use of lasers that present an imminent danger or excessive hazard.
  • Make recommendations for selection of proper personnel protective equipment.
  • Investigate laser accidents and near misses.

Principal Investigator (PI)

  • Complete a Laser Registration Form [PDF] for each Class 3b or 4 laser and send the forms to the LSO at
  • Ensure that standard operating procedures are written for all Class 3b and 4 laser activities. These procedures must contain the name and contact information for the PI and must be sent to the LSO for final approval. The procedures must be posted next to the laser and uploaded to the documents section of the laboratory platform in BioRAFT.
  • Comply with the safety requirements outlined in the Laboratory Safety Manual.
  • Supervise the safe use of lasers in the laser environment.
  • Appropriately classify and label all lasers.
  • Establish and maintain a current list of those personnel approved to operate each Class 3b or 4 laser under their supervision and provide a copy of the list to the LSO.
  • Complete the applicable online laser safety course at the interval specified in the safety manual.
  • Immediately notify EH&S at 215.895.5919 or via email at in the event of suspected overexposure to the output beam from a Class 3b or 4 laser.
  • Provide laser operators with training in alignment, standard operating and administrative procedures. This training must be documented and uploaded to BioRAFT under the Documents section of the platform.
  • Duties may be delegated to an individual supervised by the PI.

Laser Operator (LO) Responsibilities

  • Complete the applicable online laser safety course before operating a Class 3b or 4 laser and again at the interval specified in the safety manuel.
  • Use lasers safely.
  • Comply with established policy, standard operating procedures, and other procedural requirements.
  • Promptly report to the PI any malfunctions, problems, accidents, or injuries, which may have an impact on safety.
  • Ensure that all lab visitors are properly informed of and protected from all potential hazards.