Laser safety

The SFU Laser Safety Program ensures the safe and effective control of laser hazards and applies to all departments, faculty, staff, students, volunteers and visitors working with laser generating equipment, Class 3B and Class 4 lasers, and laser systems. The program is administered by the University Radiation Safety Committee (URSC) and the Laser Safety Officer (LSO).

Exposure control

Control measures help reduce hazardous levels of exposure to eye and due to laser radiation and associated hazards.
The basic elements of the control program are:

  • Registration of all Class 3B and Class 4 laser/laser systems (through SFU’s Hazard Inventory System:
  • Inspections of Class 3B and Class 4 laser/laser systems;
  • Requirement for training and education of laser workers through:
    • General laser safety orientation – EHS
    • Laboratory specific training – Principal Investigator
  • Reporting accidents/incidents
  • Medical surveillance;
  • Requirement for personal protective equipment;
  • Requirement for engineering controls;
  • Requirement for administrative and procedural controls;

The ANSI requirements for laser hazard controls are described in the SFU Laser Safety Manual. Engineering control measures (such as protective housings, system interlocks, key-controls, etc.) shall be given primary consideration for limiting access to hazardous radiation. Procedural or administrative control measures may be utilized when engineering controls are impractical or inappropriate and the principle investigator/supervisor and Laser Safety Officer agree that an equivalent level of protection is obtained.

When multiple lasers are in use, the highest laser class will determine the level of safety to be implemented.

Note: The laser class and corresponding laser safety requirements for a laser/laser system are determined by the maximum power of the system, not the operating power.