Laser Safety

Laser Safety

May 14, 2014

UCLA Environment Health and Safety (EH&S) recognizes that laser research is an integral and growing part of scientific operations and works to support UCLA’s contribution to science by promoting safe laser practices.

The EH&S Radiation Safety Division operates the UCLA EH&S Laser Safety Program which oversees campus laser operations.  The Radiation Safety Officer or designee serves as the Laser Safety Officer (LSO) who is responsible for the implementation of safety standards and compliance with this manual.

Lasers are devices that produce radiant energy by the stimulated emission of light.  Laser radiation is highly monochromatic, directional and coherent, which means that the beams travel and can maintain power over long distances, and can be easily and sharply focused on a small surface.  Intense beams of energy may be produced in the ultraviolet, visible, near infrared and far infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Because of their precise qualities these beams pose unique and profound non-ionizing radiation hazards.  As a consequence, laser usage must be carefully monitored to protect the health and safety of laboratory personnel and property within the greater University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus community.

The EH&S Laser Safety Program seeks to increase the necessary awareness of safe laser use for workers in the UCLA Research, Engineering and Education working environment, utilizing ANSI Safe Laser Use standards and University Policies that must be followed when operating laser devices on the UCLA campus.

The Program provides an understanding of the hazards associated with laser use, specifies national use standards where compliance is required when working with lasers, amplifies these with requirements specific to the UCLA campus and circumstances of laser use, and implements the controls and procedures by which problems can be prevented.

Program responsibilities include guidance, education and inspection to monitor controls and implement new and emerging requirements.  We work to perform these functions in partnership with and as an essential component of the UCLA community.