Laser Safety

Radiation Protection Services (RPS) has the responsibility to develop and implement the radiation safety program at Stony Brook University. This guide is provided to aid you in recognizing your responsibility for laser safety and acts as an introductory laser safety trainer.

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Access Control of a Laser Environment

Warning Signs

Post signs and warning lights at all entries to Class 3 and 4 laser facilities. The signs must conform in size, color and wording with the current ANSI Standard.

Required warning lights may be any variety of visible indicator acceptable to the Radiation Protection Services. They may be designed as an interlock system to the laser area, in which case the laser would switch off when the door is opened; or they may be used to indicate when the laser is operating.

Warning signs shall be conspicuously displayed and shall include the following information in this order:

  1. Appropriate signal word ("Caution" or "Danger"):
    • "Caution" is used for Class 2 and certain Class 3a laser.
    • "Danger" is used for certain Class 3a lasers and Class 3b and 4 lasers.
  2. Special precautionary instructions or protective actions required by the reader.
  3. Laser hazard symbol (sunburst with tail).
  4. Type of laser or the emitted wavelength, pulse duration (if appropriate) and maximum output.
  5. Class of laser or laser system.

Protective Eyewear

Protective eyewear shall be worn whenever operational conditions may result in a potential eye hazard". Eyewear considerations should include:

  1. Adequate beam absorption or optical density
  2. Good visual transmission
  3. Damage visual transmission
  4. The necessity of side shields
  5. Whether prescription specifications are required in the laser filter, or whether a clip-on flip-down or "over" goggle style is preferred

Visitor accommodation in protective eyewear is required before entering a hazard zone during use of a laser.

Protective Barriers

A door interlock method must be approved by Radiation Protection Services. However, where safety latches or interlocks are not feasible or are inappropriate, for example during medical procedures, surgery, etc., the hazard zone shall:

  1. Be separated by a barrier
  2. Be marked by a visible or audible signal which is energized when the laser is on
  3. Be manned by authorized personnel who are adequately trained and provided with protective equipment upon entry into the zone

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