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Section I

Introduction

The purpose of this manual is to ensure the safe use of lasers in research and instructional laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania. To achieve this goal, the University has adopted the American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers, ANSI Z136.1-2007. ANSI Z136.1-2007 is recognized as a minimum standard for laser safety.

Most lasers are capable of causing eye injury from the direct beam and specular reflections. Class 4 lasers are also capable of causing eye injury from diffuse reflections, burning exposed skin, igniting flammable materials and generating hazardous air contaminants. Equipment used to produce the lasing action and control and direct the laser beam introduce additional hazards associated with high voltage, high pressure, cryogenics, noise, radiation and toxic gases.

Scope

This program applies to all lasers used in research and instructional laboratories at the University or Pennsylvania.

Responsibilities

A. Principal Investigators are responsible for:

  • Supervising laser use in the laboratory.
  • Implementing and enforcing the safety recommendations and requirements outlined in this manual.
  • Developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the laboratory.
  • Providing laser operators with training in operating, administrative and alignment procedures.
  • Ensuring that all lasers in the laboratory are properly classified and labeled.
  • Ensuring that the proper signs are posted at the entrance(s) to the laboratory.
  • Registering all lasers with the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS).
  • Attending laser safety training.
  • Registering for the medical surveillance program if working with Class 3b or Class 4 lasers.
  • Notifying EHRS immediately in the event of an exposure to a Class 3b or Class 4 laser beam or reflection.

B. Laser Operators are responsible for:

  • Following laboratory standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Informing the Principal Investigator of any departure from the SOPs.
  • Notifying the Principal Investigator in the event of an exposure incident.
  • Attending laser safety training.
  • Registering for the medical surveillance program if working with Class 3b or Class 4 lasers.

C.The Laser Safety Officer (LSO) is responsible for:

  • Conducting safety audits of all laser laboratories.
  • Providing assistance in evaluating and controlling hazards.
  • Updating the Laser Safety Manual.
  • Maintaining records of all lasers and laser operators.
  • Conducting laser safety training for all personnel working with lasers.
  • Participating in accident investigations involving lasers.
  • Coordinating the medical surveillance program with the Ophthalmology Department at HUP.

table of contents Section 2