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Laser Safety

The Laser Safety program provides individuals using lasers information on laser hazards, laser-related policies and procedures and recommendations for the safe use of lasers.  Much of the information contained in the program 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 laser safety program’s primary objective is to ensure that no laser radiation in excess of the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) reaches the human eye or skin. Additionally, the program is designed to ensure that adequate protection against collateral hazards is provided.  These 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 Clinical Safety Manual for a detailed discussion on the proper handling of laser systems.


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.

Clinical Personnel

  • Complete a Laser Registration Form for each Class 3b or 4 laser and send the forms to the LSO. 
  • Ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) are written for all Class 3b and 4 laser activities.  These procedures, which must contain the name and contact information for the responsible party, must sent to the LSO for final approval. The procedure must be posted next to the laser and uploaded to the documents section of the laboratory in BioRAFT.
  • Comply with the safety requirements outlined in this Laser Safety Policy.
  • Supervise the safe use of lasers in the laser environment.
  • Classify and label appropriately all lasers under his/her control.
  • 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 this manual.
  • Immediately notify EH&S at 215-895-5919 or via email at in the event of a suspected overexposure to the output beam from a Class 3b or 4 laser.
  • Provide laser operators with training in the 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 this policy manual.
  • Use lasers safely.
  • Comply with established policy, SOPs and other procedural requirements.
  • Promptly report to the responsible party 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.

Laser Registration 

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

Additional resources: