It is a requirement that protective eyewear shall be examined at intervals not to exceed six months using the laser eyewear audit and inventory form. It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to ensure that this requirement be met and a copy of the form is sent to the radiation safety team.
The laser eyewear audit and inventory form is required to be kept up to date and a copy is to be maintained with the standard operating procedures for the laboratory. It is designed to help laser users keep an active inventory as well as a checklist for the inspection of the lab’s laser protective eyewear.
Eyewear should be stored in clean and sanitary ready-for-use condition in an area away from dust and dirt and other contaminants. The eyewear should also be kept in an area away from exposure to chemicals and vapors, which could degrade or affect the material over time. This may be especially true in some of the plastic lenses, because the organic dyes used as absorbers are more readily affected by heat and ultraviolet radiation, which cause the filter to significantly darken. In addition to affecting the eyewear, contaminants in the work area may also be introduced into or around the eye when the contaminated eyewear is worn.
If the eyewear needs to be cleaned, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Generally, a mild soap solution is fine for polycarbonate eyewear. Special care may need to be taken for coated or laminated eyewear.
Inventory all of the laser protective eyewear in the lab and record the appropriate information on the laser eyewear audit and inventory form. If there is more than one laser in a room with the same output energy and wavelength, then the eyewear for that room can be for both lasers as long as there is a sufficient quantity.
If there is more than one laser in the room requiring different eyewear, ensure that the eyewear is marked or designated in such a way as to clarify which laser they correspond to. For “Laser ID”, enter the laser reference number (if known), or the laser serial number.
All of the following applicable criteria listed below are required to be checked before documenting “yes” on the "Passed Inspection?” section on the laser eyewear audit and inventory form:
- Verify the eyewear is appropriate for the wavelengths used
- Verify that the eyewear is appropriate for the power output
- Verify that there is adequate eyewear available for all users
- Check that the eyewear is not dirty, dusty or has broken temples
- Inspect the eyewear for scratches that would render them unsafe to use
- Inspect the eyewear for burn marks. Burn marks are a good indicator of poor beam management, intra-beam viewing or accidents
- Ensure that the reliability of the protective filters and integrity of the protective filter frames
- If applicable, check integrity of elastic bands and replace if needed.
Discuss the audit with the principal investigator. Discuss any discrepancies in inventory, problems found, and corrective actions that should be taken. Implement the corrective actions and list them on the form. Then, sign the form and file with the appropriate standard operating procedures. Send a copy to the laser safety officer via fax (773.702.4008) or email.