Office of Radiation Safety


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Laser Safety Manual Contents

Scope and Applicability

Overview of Safety Requirements for Lasers

Laser Safety Organization at ASU

Laser and Laser System Classification

Registration and Permits

Laser Hazard Control Requirements

Emergency Procedures

Appendix A:
Laser Hazards

Appendix B:
Controlling "Non-Beam" Hazards

Appendix C:
Exposure Limits and Laser Classification

Appendix D:
Laser Control Area Permit

Appendix E:
Medical Surveillance Form

Appendix F:
Eye Injury Wavelengths Diagram

Appendix G:
Example SOP & Safety Checklist

Appendix H:
Procedures for Establaishing Medical Surveillance

Appendix I:
ASU Radiation Safety Committee Laser Policy

Appendix B - Controlling "Non-Beam" Hazards

    Many chemical and physical hazards other than laser radiation can be associated with laser operations that must also be adequately controlled. Consult your Chemical Hygiene plan and contact your designated laboratory safety supervisor for a list of hazards in your area. Inform your supervisor of other hazards identified in the laser control area as well. These hazards are quite often more prevalent and serious than those associated with exposure to the optical radiation. In some cases, such as electrocution, these hazards can be life threatening. These "non-beam" hazards are outlined in this appendix.

    1. Electrical Equipment and Systems

      1. Always be aware of the high risk of injury and fire in laser operations because of the presence of electrical power sources.

      2. The installation, operation, and maintenance of electrical equipment and systems must conform to the standards stated in the National Electric Code. Contact Physical Plant for assistance.

    2. Lighting

      1. Adequate lighting is necessary in controlled areas.

      2. If lights are extinguished during laser operation, provide control switches in convenient locations or install a radio controlled switch.

      3. Luminescent strips should be used to identify table and equipment corners, switch locations, aisles, etc.

      4. When natural light is not sufficient for safe egress from a laser area during an electrical power failure, install emergency lighting.

    3. Ionizing and Non-ionizing Radiation

      1. A laser operation may involve ionizing radiation that originates from the presence of radioactive materials or the use of electrical power in excess of 15 kV .

      2. Microwave and radio frequency (RF) fields may be generated by laser systems or support equipment.

      3. Contact the Office of Radiation Safety (ORS) at 965-6140 to obtain an evaluation of these hazards before starting an operation.

    4. Hazardous Materials

      1. Bring into the laser area only those hazardous materials that are needed for the operation.

      2. All hazardous materials must be properly used, stored and controlled. Consult Materials Safety Data Sheets, the Chemical Hygiene Plan and Risk Management for information.

      3. Do not allow laser beams or strong reflections to impinge on combustible materials, explosives, highly flammable liquids or gases or substances that decompose into highly toxic products under elevated temperatures, without providing adequate controls.

      4. Conduct or sponsor tests that establish the effects of beam interactions with hazardous materials. Test results can be used to determine safe parameters for laser operation.

    5. Dyes and Solutions

      1. Dye lasers normally use a lasing medium composed of a complex fluorescent organic dye dissolved in an organic solvent. These dyes vary greatly in toxicity, mutagenicity, and potential carcinogenicity.

      2. All dyes must be treated as hazardous chemicals. Most solvents suitable for dye solutions are flammable and toxic by inhalation and/or skin absorption.

      3. Obtain Material Safety Data Sheets for all dyes and solvents.

      4. Use and store all dyes and solvents in accordance with the University's Chemical Hygiene Plan.

      5. Prepare/handle dye-solutions inside a chemical fume hood.

      6. Wear a lab coat, eye protection and gloves. Call Risk Management for assistance in glove selection.

      7. Pressure-test all dye laser components before using dye solutions. Pay particular attention to tubing connections.

      8. Install spill pans under pumps and reservoirs.

      9. Be alert to contaminated parts.

      10. Keep dye mixing areas clean.

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