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Laser Safety


The safe use of lasers requires that all laser users and everyone else near the laser system are aware of the dangers involved and are properly trained to operate the instruments. Developing proper habits will protect from the potential accidents. Post warning signs in the area of the laser beam to alert all laser users and everyone else near the laser system of the hazards specific to the class of laser present. It is good practice to operate the laser in an enclosed room with controlled and restricted access. Laser light will remain collimated over long distances and therefore presents a potential hazard if not confined in an enclosed room.
The greatest concern when using a laser is eye safety. In addition to the main beam, there are often many smaller beams present at various angles near the laser system. These beams are formed by specular reflections of the main beam from polished surfaces. While weaker than the main beam, such beams may still be sufficiently intense to cause eye injury. Wearing a set of proper laser safety goggles is a good practice when working with any laser but especially for those rated Class IIIb or higher. Each type of laser requires its own specific protection depending on wavelength and power/energy. To purchase laser safety goggles please visit www.phillips-safety.com.
Never look directly into the laser light source or at scattered laser light from any reflective surface. Never sight down the beam into the source. All commercial marking lasers are equipped with a safety interlock that prevent their operation with an open enclosure. Never defeat the interlock. Operation with a defeated interlock turns the laser into Class IV automatically. Any direct or indirect beam (reflected off of the shiny or even dull surfaces) can cause blindness.
Laser beams can be powerful enough to burn skin, clothing or paint. They can ignite volatile substances such as alcohol, gasoline, ether and other solvents, and can damage light-sensitive elements in video cameras, photomultipliers and photodiodes. The laser beam can ignite substances in its path, even at some distance. The beam may also cause damage if contacted indirectly from reflective surfaces. Always observe all safety precautions in the pre-installation and Operator's manuals.