Lasers come in various shapes and forms, they do not all have the same capabilities or damaging potentials. They have many uses in teaching, research, manufacturing, medicine, dentistry, shop checkouts and most commonly at work in the office.

Lasers emit radiation as narrow concentrated beams of light, not necessarily visible to the human eye. The optical and skin hazards presented by lasers vary markedly according to the wavelength and power of the output.

The hazards of lasers are often associated with the ability of the laser to damage eyesight or burn skin, but quite often the radiation or optical hazards are not the ones that present the greatest risk.

Safe Use of Lasers -University guidance (MS WORD 300KB)

The Association of University Radiation Protection Officers (AURPO) has produced guidance on the safe use of lasers in education and research; this document represents general guidance on good practice. It is intended to aid in the identification of the hazards associated with working with lasers, to assist in assessing the risk and to outline appropriate control measures in a university or HE college environment.  This guidance draws from, and should be used together with, the applicable British Standard document(s) in the BS EN 60825 series of documents and associated amendments. The August 2012 revision, which replaces the 2007 version and previous CVCP guidance, has been produced following a review of the guidance available and changes made to the laser classification system.

AURPO  Laser Guidance Note 7 - Guidance on the Safe Use of Lasers in Education and Research (August 2012) (PDF 550KB)

The updated revision also includes reference to the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 which came into force on 27 April 2010 with the aim to protect workers from the risks to health from hazardous sources of artificial optical radiation (AOR) including lasers.

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