Is your place of business free of known hazards?

  • Posted on Dec 10, 2019

Lasers pose both occupational and biological hazards.  Protection from non-beam hazards, particularly in research labs, include:

  • Adequate ventilation is required to remove noxious and potentially hazardous fumes and vapors like those emitted from laser welding and cutting.
  • Arc and filament lamps and laser welding equipment must be enclosed in housings to withstand the resulting pressure or explosion.  The laser targets or any part which may shatter must also be enclosed.
  • Proper shielding from laser discharge tubes, pumping lamps and laser welding plasmas is mandatory.
  • Aside from radiation created by the laser itself, there are risks associated with some plasma tubes, x-rays and high-voltage power supplies like those used with excimer lasers.    Lasers and laser systems which could generate any of these hazards should be closely monitored.
  • The electric power supply to lasers varies and must be in accordance with OSHA and applicable State codes.
  • Flame-resistant enclosures, particularly for Class IV and some focused Class IIIB lasers, must be used to prevent injury as well.
  • Bodily injuries from lasers and laser systems are eye damage and tissue burns.
  • Lasers are intense, highly focused light beams that can retinal scarring and even permanent loss of sight.   They can occur in microseconds or over several seconds of direct exposure.  Also, photochemical reactions damaging to the retinal tissue can occur when viewing things like solar eclipses and unprotected arc welding can occur.

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