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Radiation protection - lasers

These guidelines describe the responsibilities related to using lasers.

Norsk versjon - Strålevern - lasere

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with laser

Lasers #

A laser is an optical radiation source that takes the shape of thin line of light. The line may be either visible or invisible, and is normally one colour (monochromatic). The term “laser” is this case covers single lasers, laser systems and laser pointers.

Lasers are divided into danger classes (Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA), in Norwegian) based on the potential for damage, especially to the eyes. The classes range from 1 (harmless) to 4 (dangerous).

Responsibilities #

The line leader #

The line leader oversees responsible radiation protection at the unit. The line leader should perform the duties described in Radiation protection - responsibility and task delegation.

Where lasers are in use, the line leader should ensure that:

Academic supervisors #

Academic supervisors using lasers are responsible for the tasks described in Radiation protection - responsibility and task delegation.

Where lasers are in use, the academic supervisor should additionally ensure to:

  • evaluate whether users are knowledgeable enough to become authorised users of class 3B and 4 lasers.

Class 3B lasers: General authorisation is given for all class 3B lasers.

Class 4 lasers: Authorisation needs to be given for each individual class 4 laser. Document this in the form “Authorised users of class 4 laser at NTNU”.

  • Evaluate whether it is necessary to assign an instrument coordinator for class 3B lasers, and appoint this person if necessary. The academic supervisor should determine whether the person is knowledgeable enough to be named instrument coordinator. If no one is named instrument coordinator, the academic supervisor performs the duties of the instrument responsible.

Instrument coordinator #

  • Is responsible for the equipment, safety measures and user training for his or her laser.
  • Should make information material on all class 3B and 4 lasers available.
  • Should keep a log and list of all the authorised user for a class 4 laser.

Local radiation protection coordinator #

The local radiation protection coordinator is responsible for the tasks described in Radiation protection - responsibility and task delegation.

Regarding lasers, the local radiation protection coordinator should also:

  • Keep track of new purchases, moving or disposal of class 3B and 4 lasers.
  • Inform the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) of the purchase, moving or disposal of class 4 lasers via the electronic system.
  • Send an application for the use of laser pointers class 3R, 3B and 4 to the central radiation protection coordinator.
  • Keep a copy of the log book and the list of the authorised users for the past year’s activity on class 4 lasers at the unit. The information should be kept for 10 years.

Using lasers #

Authorised users of class for 4 lasers #

Authorised users of class 4 lasers should be competent enough to evaluate and use the laser in a safe manner.

Purchasing, moving and the disposal of class 4 and 3B lasers #

Register purchasing, moving and disposal of class 4 and 3B lasers to the local radiation protection coordinator. For class 4 lasers, the local radiation protection coordinator should also inform the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority via the electronic system.

The unit should not purchase, use or handle the class 4 laser before the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) has confirmed that they have received notice of the purchase.

If the laser is temporarily moved within the unit, perform a risk assessment and take the necessary safety measures.

Laser pointers class 3R, 3B and 4 #

Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) needs to approve the use of class 3R, 3B and 4 laser pointers before they are purchased. Fill out an application (in Norwegian) and send it to the local radiation protection coordinator.

Documentation #

Information material #

Every class 4 laser should have the following information available. It is recommended to place the information in a visible binder.

General information #

  • Name of the instrument coordinator, his or her deputy and the local radiation protection coordinator.
  • Central information about the equipment.
  • Instrument-specific documentation.
  • References to (or copies of) data sheets, radiation protection regulations, etc.
  • Risk assessments

Here is a list of the content that should be available in the information binder (doc).

User instructions #

  • Instructions for practical use: starting, operation, stopping, closing, safety rules, logging, locking, measuring radiation, etc.

Emergency procedures #

  • See the emergency preparedness plan, chapter 9.9

Log #

A log should be kept for all class 4 lasers with the following content:

  • Name of the user
  • Date, duration, type of work and other notes
  • Service work and any significant changes in the equipment set-up

The log should be kept near the equipment. It is also strongly recommended to keep a log for class 3B lasers.

Safety and technical requirements #

Physical barriers #

The laser ray path should be contained as much as possible, and all radiation sources must be secured against theft, sabotage and damages from fire or water. Rooms or areas containing class 3B and 4 lasers should have:

  • Access limitations that keep unauthorised persons from 
    • entering an area where they can be exposed to radiation above the recommended limits. For more information about the applicable recommended limits, see NEK EN 60825-1 (requires login to the NTNU network).
    • performing theft or sabotage.
  • Warning signs (triangle-shaped warning of laser radiation) as well as basic information about the radiation and required personal protective equipment (glasses etc.).
  • A room card with the laser marked on it.
  • Technical measures that prevent theft and sabotage.
  • Technical measures that keep lasers safe from damages from fire or water.

Marking #

Lasers should be marked in accordance with Norwegian standards NEK EN 60825-1 (requires login to the NTNU network).

  • Areas where the ray leaves the laser.
  • Class.
  • Warning against opening covers that release laser rays.
  • Warnings about any invisible radiation.
  • Label on the laser with product information.

The markings should be in Norwegian. If deemed necessary, the same information can be repeated in other languages.

There should be a list of authorised users near every class 4 laser.

Personal protective equipment #

Personal protective equipment should be made available and be used if other measures do not fully protect from danger. Personal protective equipment includes:

  • Laser glasses for anyone present when a laser that could damage eyes is in use. The laser glasses should be certified and marked so that it is clear which laser they apply to.
  • Laser-specific glasses for alignment, etc. should be available if needed. The glasses weaken the beam so that it corresponds to a class 2 laser.
  • Visors, fire-proof clothing, gloves and similar should be available if there is danger of skin damage. This applies especially to certain strong class 4 lasers.
  • Necessary equipment to physically hinder other people and equipment in the area from being damaged by the laser beam.

Eye damage #

In the case of an accident that may have caused eye damage, the person should be sent for an examination within 24 hours of the accident.

For emergency help outside of regular work hours, call 113 or call St. Olav’s hospital directly, 06800. During regular work hours, contact Occupational Health Services for referral to an eye doctor.

In the case of probable or proven chronic injury, the occupational physician should refer the employee or student to the eye doctor for an examination.

  • Note that it make take some time before eye damage becomes noticeable. If there is any doubt as to whether you have been injured, contact a doctor or eye doctor.
  • Follow the local emergency preparedness plan, chapter 9.9: Accidents and abnormal incidents involving radiation sources.

Help #

NTNU regulations #

Legislation (in Norwegian) #

Contact information #

Approval/signature #

Approved by the head of HSE - October 5, 2018 (replacing February 7, 2013 - HMSR34 - ePhorte 2014/8346

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