Having been involved in laser safety and laser safety training for 25 years, I’ve met a lot of Laser Safety Officers.  Most of these LSOs are newly appointed and have little or no experience with laser safety.  More often than not, one of the first questions I get is “What the heck am I supposed to do first?”  Setting up a laser safety program from scratch can be overwhelming.  Whether you are doing this for the first time, or need to review what you already have in place, here are 10 steps to consider.

  1. Get a copy of ANSI Z136.1 “Safe Use of Lasers” standard.  This is the industry standard for laser safety and OSHA has been known to reference this standard.  https://www.kenteklaserstore.com/safe-use-of-lasers-ansi-z136.aspx
  2. LSO training.  ANSI requires it for Class 3B and 4 lasers and the specific duties are listed in the standard.  https://lasersafetyu.kentek.com/product-category/laser-safety-training-classroom?product_view=list
  3. Establish the laser inventory and where they are located – most notably the Class 3B and 4 lasers.
  4. Develop a written Laser Safety Program.  The written Laser Safety Program is an overall summary of where the company stands on laser safety and a brief description of the program requirements (contact me for a sample if you like).
  5. Perfom a hazard evaluation for each laser use area considering times of operation, maintenance and service.  Review current control measures, PPE and hazard analysis calculations.  Software is available to help with the hazard analysis calculations.  https://lasersafetyu.kentek.com/easy-haz-laser-hazard-analysis-software
  6. Implement Engineering and Administrative control measures based on the hazard evaluations.  ANSI Z136.1 has them by hazard class – Tables 10a, b, c, d and Table 11a for Area Warning Signs.
  7. Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for operation, maintenance, service conditions (and alignment if necessary).  ANSI Z136.1 requires them for Class 4 lasers and recommends them for Class 3B.
  8. Train authorized users and personnel and keep documented records.  This can be done by the LSO, a third party or even online.  https://lasersafetyu.kentek.com/product-category/laser-safety-online-courses?product_view=list
  9. Consider development of a Laser Safety Committee if there are multiple lasers in multiple locations.
  10. Audit the program on an annual basis.  An initial in-depth audit may be required.  Typically the LSO will do this but you can contract this service out.  https://lasersafetyu.kentek.com/product-category/custom-services-audits?product_view=list