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A Rundown on Laser Safety

Dec 26, 2023

Their use in common applications does not mean they are always inherently safe.

From simple laser pointers and barcode scanners to advanced laser marking systems and beyond, lasers are a versatile tool that can be used in diverse ways. However, their use in common applications does not mean they are always inherently safe.

Knowledge of lasers and their hazards can help prevent harmful accidents from occurring when utilizing them. To promote safety within your facility, we have compiled a variety of laser safety tips.

Per the standards and regulations developed by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, each laser is ranked on a class basis depending on the risk it presents. The scale ranges from Class 1 to Class 4, and the classifications are distributed according to the risk associated with each laser.

To further describe the potential of lasers, the CDRH developed two classifications:

For example, employees must be properly trained and qualified to operate Class 3 and Class 4 lasers, which is established by appropriate courses and other requirements. These individuals are also in charge of creating a safe environment where only other qualified personnel are permitted in the area.

Working with lasers and equipment like laser marking systems can require careful preparation. While you should always use precautions when using any laser, the following steps are critical for Class 4 lasers. However, every step is worthwhile if it promotes safety for yourself and those around you. Start by preparing the room and gearing up. Then, check out additional safety tips and proper machine disposal, if applicable.

In order to make your project a success, maintenance and other precautions need to be followed. To prepare for your laser task, consider the following:

Personal protection is arguably one of the most important elements of laser safety, especially when working with lasers in Class 4. To prevent accidents and complete projects seamlessly, consider implementing the following:

Additional safety tips to practice while using Class 4 lasers include:

Regardless of your industry or project, laser safety is of paramount importance. By being informed on your laser's capabilities, practicing the necessary precautions, and hosting qualified individuals in the laser zone, you can maintain safety across your facility.

Julia Grosel works with TYKMA Electrox, a manufacturer of industrial laser marking systems that has been delivering quality laser marking, etching, and engraving solutions for over 55 years.