What is Laser Safety?
Laser safety includes the safe design, use and implementation of lasers to minimize the risk of laser accidents, especially those involving eye injuries. Specifically, laser safety is concerned with the safe use of devices that produce non-ionizing radiation at wavelengths between 0.18 µm and 1 mm. Laser safety is essential when the laser beams produced have the potential to cause biological damage to the eye or skin. Lasers and laser systems are classified based upon their potential hazard to the eye under normal working conditions. Appropriate training and control measures are employed to ensure the well-being of workers who may use or be exposed to laser radiation.
The Radiation Safety Team is responsible for the administration of the Laser Safety Program. An Radiation Safety Health Physicist serves as the Laser Safety Officer (LSO) for the University of Chicago. The LSO is the primary administrative contact and regulatory liaison for both the laser users and the State of Illinois. The LSO may select designees from the Radiation Safety Team who may also perform the standard activities and responsibilities of the Laser Safety Program.
The Radiation Safety Team requires that individuals using lasers will prepare and operate laser facilities in ways which meet the laser safety guidelines established by the Illinois Administrative Code Title 32: Chapter II, Subchapter b, Part 315: Standards for Protection Against Laser Radiation. Many of the statutes, enforced by the Illinois Energy Management Agency (IEMA), are derived from the standards established by the Laser Institute of America as published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as ANSI Z136.1-2007, American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers.