Laser Training

Recommended Laser Training Requirements: The LSO shall insure that all employees assigned to service, maintain, install, adjust, and operate laser equipment be appropriately qualified and trained. The training program should be designed appropriate to the Class of laser radiation accessible during the required task(s) of the personnel. Laser area supervisors shall maintain the names of all persons trained and date of training and inform the LSO of training completions and requirements.

A. Class I Training:
Class I training can be limited, in general, to information contained in the operation/maintenance manuals of the laser Manufacturer. No additional operator training is necessary provided the Class I status is maintained.

B. Class II, Class IIA and Class IIIA Training:
Class II, Class IIA and Class IIIA training can include information contained in the operation/maintenance manuals of the laser Manufacturer and, where appropriate, additional basic safety guide literature of a general topic nature. Short, concise audio-visual programs can also enhance understanding of hazards in some use scenarios especially where Class II, Class IIA or Class IIIA laser systems are subject to frequent operator changes.

C. Class IIIB and Class IV Training:
Class IIIB and Class IV training is recommended for those working with Class IIIB and Class IV lasers, including operators, maintenance personnel, service persons as-well-as those on the technical support staff, technicians, ..etc. The training should provide a complete understanding of the requirements of a safe laser environment and include discussion of the hazards, safety devices required, procedures related to operating the equipment, warning sign requirements and description of medical surveillance practices. Emphasis should be placed on practical, safe laser techniques and procedures as well as safety devices that provide an overall safe environment.

D. Laser Safety Officer Training:

Laser Safety Officer training is required for the facility LSO. This can be a comprehensive multi-day course which covers the all key aspects of laser safety and a indepth review of the appropriate standards, OSHA requirements, and needs for state and local compliance, as appropriate.

E. Update Training Requirements:
Update training requirements have been shown to be appropriate, especially for research and service personnel where beam alignment is a frequent work requirement. For example, one published account by an individual who lost the sight of one eye when protective eyewear was not used, concluded: “But more important than the actual event is the idea that this incident could have been avoided. Don’t let it happen to you or a co-worker. Take time to assess safety conditions, and do it again in 6 months or a year; additional hazards arise in an ever-changing research environment. Safety deserves your thoughtful considerations, now, before your accident.”

F. Tailored Training Sessions:
There often will be a need to tailor the laser safety training session for each of the different groups that use lasers in the facility. Often the type of laser(s) and locations will impact the content of the training program. For example, the hazards and controls recommended for the far-infrared CO(2) lasers are usually different than those for a near-infrared Nd:YAG laser or a visible Argon Ion laser or an ultraviolet Excimer laser. Where possible, the specific course content should be designed for the lasers and personnel in the environment.

Guidelines for Laser Safety and Hazard Assessment
Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Guidelines for Laser Safety and Hazard Assessment PUB 8-1.7 (tablular data and equation illustrations have been omitted).