Campus Laser Pointer Guidelines

Class 2 or 3R laser pointers used for classroom instruction or presentations shall be operated under these guidelines. Class 3B and Class 4 laser devices shall not be used in instruction or presentations. The Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Committee has approved the use of Class 3R pointers for their intended use as instruction and presentation aids. Class 3R laser can cause eye injury, but the intended use of laser pointers carries a very low probability of injury.

Operating Safety Guidelines:

  • No person should ever intentionally stare into the laser beam.
  • The laser beam should never be intentionally directed toward oneself or directed toward another person. The beam should be directed towards the screen and directed away from the audience.
  • Mirror-like surfaces (such as glass, metal and other highly reflective materials) should be avoided when directing the laser beam.
  • Use of Class 3R laser pointers should be limited to the intended purpose. Indiscriminate use may present an eye hazard.
  • Class 3R laser pointer use is prohibited when optically aided viewing of the beam is probable. Optical aids include telescopes, binoculars, viewing optics, and similar devices.

Labeling of Pointers:
The manufacturer is required by the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health to provide correct labeling for their laser pointers. This includes the laser hazard symbol, laser classification, and maximum power output and laser wavelength. This information should be clearly visible on the laser pointer.

Legal Implications of Laser Pointer Misuse:
The California Penal Code has several sections that indicate the willful misuse of a laser pointer can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. In particular, directing any laser beam at another person may constitute assault (suggesting the use of a laser gunsight) and directing any laser beam at an aircraft may constitute malicious mischief.