Ten Simple Steps to Set Up a Healthcare Laser Safety Program
The number of healthcare laser devices has grown significantly in the last decade due to advances in surgical and medical procedures. With this growth comes the need for vigilance in the clinic, lab, hospital, or surgery center to ensure patient and employee safety.
There are more than a dozen Class 3B and 4 laser systems found in everyday medical use. Class 3B systems are typically not fire threats but can cause significant optical harm if viewed directly or by reflection. Class 4 laser systems, primarily used in surgery specialties – ophthalmology, urology, dermatology, otolaryngology, and cardiology – carry extra risk because it is the most hazardous class of laser. This is why a healthcare laser safety program is of paramount importance.
The Ten Steps to Healthcare Laser Safety
- Appoint a Healthcare Laser Safety Officer (LSO) and define the role and responsibilities. This person should have the authority and responsibility to implement, monitor and enforce the program. The person chosen is typically a physician, operating room nurse or surgical technician who is experienced in operating, maintaining or calibrating laser systems. An LSO is required by many states, and you should consult the appropriate local entity.
- Train the LSO properly in a course with a trusted organization, such as Laser Safety Certification.
- Draft a healthcare laser safety policy statement and establish the details of your program. If you need materials to establish your in-house safety program, you should consider LSC’s Healthcare Laser Safety Officer Kit Bundle that includes both a certification course for the Healthcare LSO and a kit to train employees at your facility.
- Conduct an inventory of all Class 3B and Class 4 lasers and maintain a record of each device’s location.
- Record which lasers are current on their preventive maintenance and which lasers are compliant with the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) federal requirements.
- Complete a laser hazard assessment for each operating room following ANSI Z136.3.
- Examine, document and control non-beam hazards, including laser-generated air contaminants caused by laser plume.
- Write standard operating procedures for all laser equipment in your inventory and implement measures for the control of beam and non-beam hazards using the template included in our Healthcare LSO Kit.
- Authorize laser personnel and employe laser safety training appropriate for the degree of hazard.
- Audit the program annually to ensure it is still effective and controls and SOPs for the hazard are working to keep people safe.
Organizations executing a healthcare laser safety program will want to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and ensure compliance with the ANSI Z136.3-2011 standards.
For more on implementing an OSHA and ANSI compliant Healthcare Laser Safety program, review the information at https://www.lasersafetycertification.com/healthcare-kit/.