Radiation non-ionising, laser
Laser Safety Officers
If you have any laser-related queries, please contact one of the Faculty Laser Safety Officers,
The ARPANSA website contains useful information on what a laser is, what they are used for, and what hazards they present.
Laser induction procedure
Before beginning work with lasers or in a lab or facility where lasers are used, all new staff and students must complete all three parts of the laser induction procedure, which are as follows:
Part 1: Eye Test
People who will be working with, or in the same room as, Class 3R, 3B or Class 4 lasers must get an eye test. This test serves two purposes - to create a record of your eye health at the commencement of your laser work, and to check whether you have any pre-existing eye conditions that could increase your risk of injury while working with lasers.
- "Request an eye test" through the OneHelp system.
- Information on how to fill out the eye test form can be found here.
- Once submitted, the application will be approved by your supervisor and the faculty finance representative (FSE only). Once all approvals have been granted, you will receive an email with further instructions.
- The eye examination MUST be taken BEFORE accessing any laser laboratories.
Part 2: Learning
This part involves learning about lasers and their associated hazards, along with ways to mitigate them. This information is presented in a set of powerpoint slides with two associated videos, and the FSE laser safety policy. Use the links below to download and work through the resources:
- Read the Laser Safety Policy (noting that forms are now online).
- Read the General Laboratory Safety Guidelines (especially section 6.5).
- Read through the Laser Induction Module presentation (see below for videos mentioned in the presentation).
- Watch the Eye Effects Video (45 MB, 5 minutes).
- Watch the Laser Safety Video (225 MB, 22 minutes).
Part 3: Risk Assessment
- Information on how to fill out the laser project risk assessment can be found here.
- If you have any queries about the specific lasers you are using, contact the lab academic or manager for assistance.
- Note that you cannot begin the risk assessment form until you have completed the eye test.
Laser room access for non-laser users:
If you are planning to work in a lab where a high power laser may be in operation but will not be working with a laser yourself, you must still complete parts 1 and 2 above. Then "Request laser room access for non-user" in the OneHelp System.
- Information on how to fill out the request laser room access form can be found here.
Hosts of visiting scholars and students should ensure that the visitor's home institution has an adequate laser safety induction. An eye test is not needed before the visitor starts work, but a hazard assessment should be performed to ensure the visitor is aware of local safety features and procedures. Regular visitors do not need to redo the hazard assessment. Speak to an LSO for more information.
Laser form guides
The following are how-to guides for users filling out the online laser forms in the OneHelp System:
Laser Laboratory Specifications
If you are designing or updating a lab space where high power lasers are used, please consult the following guidelines.
A lab containing and Hazardous laser product (class 3R, 3B or 4) not including embedded systems. For embedded systems see note 1.
- Most lasers are portable. To maximise flexibility and reduce inadvertent safety risks all laser spaces as per the Definition should be designed for Class 4.
- No possible beam path to areas external to the laser space
- No windows
- Full height curtains or walls
- Light-tight door openings or overlapping curtains
- Laser interlock on the final point of access
- Check standard for interlock definition (AS/NZS IEC 60825.14:2011). METS have a design which meets the standard and can be modified
- Clear illuminated sign displaying the word "Laser". The sign should be automatically switched on when the laser is operational.
- Video monitoring of the internal lab area on the final point of entry
- Interlock override interval can not be more than 20 seconds without approval from a laser safety officer.
- High luminosity lighting in area and surrounds
- Note that the laser safety standards assume a pupil size consistent with normal lighting levels.
- Non-specular-reflective paint on walls and ceilings, non-specular-reflective fixtures
- Non-slip floor surfaces.
- Non-damaging storage areas for relevant PPE in the safe area.
- Safe entry/work area.
- Separated work areas for each laser system/project
- Reticulated gas
- may take the form of Nitrogen of house dry compressed air (compressed air preferred)
- Gas detectors for relevant gases
- Gasses may include toxic, flammable or corrosive gases used with a laser product
- Light-baffle entrance for rooms which run dark (black paint on walls)
- Temperature stability
- High stability labs - +/- 0.5 degC
- normal labs - +/- 1 degC
- Humidity control
- The atmospheric humidity in an optics lab must NEVER reach the dew point.
- For nanometer-precision work humidity may need to be controlled.
Note 1: Embedded systems
Embedded systems can operate in a normal laboratory while in normal use, but need compliance with requirement 2 plus administrative controls during maintenance.
For new laser users at Macquarie University, these are the guidelines for obtaining access to a laser laboratory and/or laser system: Laser Safety Induction Procedures
Information for academics and laboratory managers wanting to purchase a new laser system are here: Purchasing Process for New Lasers
Update: New laser safety standard promulgated December 2014, further details in the Australian/New Zealand Standards Page below.
- Apart from restrictions on hand-held lasers (see below) there is no specific legislation in NSW covering registration, operation and classification of lasers. However, national standards apply and are listed below. Any deviation from the published standards may not be defensible in the event of an incident.
- For information on Ionising Radiation Safety see the Faculty Radiation Safety page or the new Ionising Radiation Wiki (under construction)
Other information relating to lasers at Macquarie and within Australia can be found at the links below:
- Procedures and Guidelines
- Australian/New Zealand Standards
- Laser Classifications
- Registered Lasers
- Laser Pointers - Legal and Safety Matters
- Further Information
For further advice on laser safety or clarification please contact your supervisor in the first instance, Adam Joyce on x1061, or Alex Arriola on x2177.