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Section XIV

Alignment

More laser accidents occur during beam alignment than any other laser manipulation. Use the following techniques to prevent accidents.

  • Exclude unnecessary personnel from the laser controlled area during alignment.
  • Perform alignment at the lowest possible power level.
  • Use low-power visible lasers for path simulation of high-power visible or invisible lasers, when possible.
  • Use a temporary beam attenuator over the beam aperture to reduce the level of laser radiation below the MPE, when possible.
  • Wear laser safety eyewear during alignment. Alignment eyewear may be used when aligning a low power visible laser. (See section XVIII.)
  • Use beam display devices (image converter viewers or phosphor cards) to locate beams when aligning invisible lasers.
  • Use shutters or beam blocks to block high-power beams at their source except when needed during the alignment procedure.
  • Use beam blocks to block high-power beams downstream of the optics being aligned
  • Use beam blocks or protective barriers when alignment beams could stray into areas with uninvolved personnel.
  • Place beam blocks behind optics such as turning mirrors to terminate beams that may miss the mirrors during alignment.
  • Locate and block all stray reflections before proceeding to the next optical component or section.
  • Ensure that all beams and reflections are terminated before resuming high-power operation.

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