The acronym LASER stands for "light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation." Lasers are devices that produce light at very specific frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. The frequency of a laser depends on the type of material that is stimulated. The properties of lasers are similar to those of the other members of the electromagnetic spectrum. However, lasers can achieve great power densities which, along with operating at a single wavelength, has made them indispensable in today's marketplace. Lasers can also present a serious danger to the eyes and skin. Care must be taken to assure the safe operation of lasers.
The Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968 was passed by Congress to protect the U.S. public from the dangers of radiation exposure from electronic products. Federal regulations require that all laser products. (i.e., any electronic product that consists of, incorporates, or is intended to incorporate a laser) manufactured on or after August 2, 1976, be certified as complying with the FDA performance standards for laser products, 21 CFR 1040.10 and 1040.11 under the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act. Also reference ANSI Z-136.1-1993 American National Standard Institute 1993.
The key element in the overall laser safety program is the Laser Safety Officer. The LSO is an individual designated by management who has the responsibility and authority to manage the overall laser safety program. The Laser Safety Officer must ensure that all employees who operate, maintain, or service laser products are properly trained. The Laser Safety Officer is also responsible for establishing, monitoring, and enforcing laser controls, as well as evaluating laser hazards.
Hazardous Materials Specialist
Environ. Hlth & Safety Tech 3