OSHA guidelines and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards state that your employer is responsible for ensuring the safe use of all lasers operated in your workplace. As the LSO, you will have many responsibilities which are detailed below.
One of your jobs will be to implement a laser safety program. Some of your co-workers may have only a basic understanding of lasers, while others may be in direct daily contact with and operate complex laser systems. You should tailor your safety program to the education and experience levels throughout your organization.
In addition to OSHA and ANSI standards, you may be regulated by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the FDA or the Council of Radiation Control Program Directors. Many states have laser safety standards and regulations which should be consulted when creating a laser safety program.
Although an LSO is only required for Class 3B and Class 4 lasers (and some Class 3R systems), it is important to know that states are creating new rules and regulations regarding laser safety. Therefore, your state may have specific rules for other classes of lasers. At the very least, employees working around lasers above Class 1 should have a general knowledge of lasers and the potential hazards they post.
IMPORTANT: OSHA does not certify, accredit or approve any laser safety trainers or training programs. The responsibility for OSHA compliant laser operator training rests with the employer. Laser Safety Certification and the LSO course do not constitute a license to operate any type of laser nor does it guarantee your workplace will be free or laser hazards. There are no special or additional requirements to use this site. The person(s) responsible for laser training and evaluation are strongly encouraged to read and become familiar with the requirements of OSHA Section III: Chapter 6 – Laser Hazards as well as the ANSI Standards at www.ansi.org.
Here’s a checklist of LSO job requirements: