Laser Safety


"Most lasers are capable of causing eye injury to anyone who looks directly into the beam or specular reflection. Even diffuse reflections of a high-power laser beam can produce permanent eye damage. High-power laser beams can burn exposed skin, ignite flammable materials, and vaporize materials, possibly releasing hazardous fumes, vapors, or gases. The equipment and optical apparatus required to produce the lasing action and control and direct the laser beam may introduce additional hazards. These hazards may include high voltage, high pressure, cryogenics, noise, radiation, and toxic fluids."
--- Chapter 6, ES and H Manual


Below is an incomplete listing of the requirements for using a laser at BioCAT. This document is still under construction. To be CERTAIN you have fulfilled all the requirements, contact Weifeng Shang
  • Class I
    • No requirements
  • Class II
    • Laser Safety Training ESH-121 (Low Power) Recommended
  • Class IIIa
    • Laser Safety Training (either ESH-121 or ESH-120) Required
    • Laser Safety Officer Approval
  • Class IIIb
    • Standard Operating Procedure
    • Laser Safety Training (ESH-120) Required
    • Eye Exam
  • Class IV
    • Standard Operating Procedure
    • Laser Safety Training (ESH-120) Required
    • Eye Exam

Explanation of terms:

  • Laser Safety Training
    Anyone using a class III or IV laser must take the ANL-specific Laser Safety class.
    If ESH-120 will satisfy the requirement, this course can be taken through an ANL web-page.

    Otherwise, both courses are taught by ANL's Laser Safety Officer:

    Bruce Murdoch
    (630) 252 4905
    btmurdoch@anl.gov
    and is scheduled through:
    Sue Dornfeld
    (630) 252 6323
    ssdornfeld@anl.gov

  • The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
    The SOP becomes the official safety document for the specific laser being used for a specific experiment. It must be revised for every experiment. A template can be found here. To fill it out, you will need to know:
    • Description of the Laser Controlled Area (LCA)
      Where the LCA is and how it will be controlled.
    • Normal Laser Operation
      Components of set-up, lay-out of set-up (specifically where the output of the laser is directed, where the optical components are located, how the beam is terminated, where the emergency stop is located, how the beam is enclosed, and the height of the beam), and technical specifications of each laser to be used.
    • Eyewear
      The protective eyewear to be used in the LCA.
    • Alignment Procedure
      Be detailed. ANL is currently (Spring 2002) paying especial attention to alignment procedures in the SOP.
    • Laser Hazard Control
      • Door interlock systems
      • Window Covers
      • Warning Signs
      • Prevention of Unauthorized operation
      • Invisible "beam on" indicator
      • Emergency cut-off switch
    • Associated Hazards
      Such things as electrical and chemical hazards.
    • Emergency Managment

  • Eye Exam
    The Eye Exam is required to document any existing damage. The medical record is kept on file here at ANL's Medical Department. Our liason there is:
    Karen Souders
    (630) 252 2809
    ksouders@anl.gov
    A copy of the Special Eye Examination Sheet must be provided to both the Medical Department and BioCAT.
    • On-Site
      • Payment
        If you elect to generate the medical record here at ANL, the requested extortion fee is $80. This needs to be paid by an Internal Purchase Order and, therefore, requires you to set up an ANL account. Contact Deana Kinzler (630) 252 1244 to set up this account.

        Once the account is set up, JoAnne Wold (630) 252 9494 should be able to help you generate the PO.

      • Exam
        Once a PO has been issued, contact the Medical Department to schedule an exam. The exam is conducted just off-site in LaGrange near LaGrange hospital:
        Dr. Fick
        Room 203, LaGrage Eye Associates
        1323 Memorial Dr.
        LaGrange, IL
        (708) 352 7422
    • Off-Site
      You may elect to have your exam taken off-site at a preferred medical center. The physician must fill out ANL's Special Eye Examination Sheet which may be requested from the ANL Medical Department.