Laser Policy

University of Maryland, Baltimore

Policy on Laser Safety

PURPOSE:

  • To define the University of Maryland, Baltimore policy for the safe use of laser products and equipment.
  • To assist laboratory personnel, managers, faculty, and students in minimizing exposure to laser hazards.

SCOPE:

  • "Laser" will define any laser equipment or system utilizing wavelengths between 0.18m m - 1mm.
  • Each Class 3b or 4 laser at the University shall be registered, and shall have an Authorization issued by the University LSO. Arrays of semiconductor lasers shall be authorized if the cumulate power exceeds Class 3a limits. Lasers which are classified as 3a or lower, but which contain a 3b or 4 lasers, shall be controlled at the higher classification if the class 3b or 4 lasers are accessible. Each Authorized User shall be responsible for establishing and supporting laser safety for the approved laser.

APPLICABLE REGULATIONS:

  • The OSHA Standards include Guidelines for Laser Safety and Hazard Assessment Pub. 8-1.7, (General) Eye and Face Protection 29CFR1910.132, (Construction) Laser Standard 29CFR1926.102 and 1926.54, and the General Duty Clause section of the OSHA Act.
  • The U.S. Federal Laser Product Standard 21CFR Part 1040 via the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), a bureau within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), governs manufacturers of lasers.
  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Safe Use of Lasers Z136.1 is the guideline for all laser users. A copy of the Z136.1 Standard is available for review in the library of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
  • The University of Maryland, Baltimore Laser Safety Program Manual.

RESPONSIBILITY OF SCHOOLS OR UNITS:

  • Ensure that all personnel operating a laser follow this policy.
  • Purchase all personal protective equipment (PPE) if necessary to comply with safety requirements of ANSI Z136.1.
  • Ensure that all Principal Investigators (PI) utilizing a laser forward a copy of an Application For The Possession And Use Of Lasers In Basic Research to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

RESPONSIBILITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY (EHS):

  • Review and update this policy so that it remains in compliance with all regulations and technologies.
  • Conduct periodic audits of laser areas and recommend action for compliance in accordance with the safety requirements of ANSI Z136.1.
  • On request, assist PI’s with writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and proper selection of PPE to ensure a safe work environment.
  • Maintain records of lasers on campus, audits, survey forms, and training attendance.
  • On request, conduct laser safety training sessions for laboratory personnel.
  • Maintain a library of laser safety resources for University employee use, including; "Laser Technology" video, ANSI Z136.1 Standard, Rockwell Laser Institute’s laser safety course materials, Laser Safety Program Manual, and catalogs for safety supplies.

RESPONSIBILITY OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:

  • Register lasers with the EHS office by completing an Application For The Possession And Use Of Lasers In Basic Research
  • Prepare an SOP’s for Class 3b and/or Class 4 lasers that include a total hazard evaluation that consider all safety measures. 
  • Determine the PPE required for the safe operation of each laser and require employees and visitors to wear proper fitting PPE.
  • Comply with ANSI Standard Z136.1 in order to ensure that any exposure to lasers remains below the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) values.
  • Perform practical and SOP training for all users prior to initial operation of a laser.

RESPONSIBILITY OF EMPLOYEE:

  • Only operate a laser upon receiving training in its proper use.
  • Wear all necessary PPE designated by the PI.
  • Inspect eyewear (prior to use) to ensure it is in good condition.
  • Comply with all SOP requirements.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES:

  • In Case of injury report to Student and Employee Health.
  • In Case of fire: Pull an alarm (red station), call University Police at 711 and give location of fire and any pertinent information, then exit building through the nearest stairs only.
  • Work related injuries require the employee to fill out an "Employee’s First Report of Injury" form. Other documentation may be required (Supervisor and Witness forms if applicable) and can be obtained from the Risk Management Division of EHS by calling 410.706.7055. Other important numbers include: 
Emergency Contacts
Immediate Care Center 410-328-8792
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) 410-706-7055
Occupational Safety 410-706-3490
Radiation Safety 410-706-6281
Biosafety Officer 410-706-7055
Chemical Safety 410-706-6281