Laser Safety

Ensuring the safe use of lasers, laser systems, and non-ionizing radiation sources.

 How Do I:

Get authorized to use a laser?

  1. Please go to the UC Learning Center and enroll in the course titled EHS 301 - Laser Safety. If you have questions, contact us at ehstrain@berkeley.edu.
  2. Review and sign the applicable laser standard operating procedure (SOP). Ensure the PI knows that you are authorized.

Note: Equivalent laser safety training that meets the campus requirement is also available at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Likewise, the campus training meets the LBNL requirement. Please contact the LBNL Laser Safety Officer, Greta Toncheva, at (510) 495-2544 for training class information.

Questions? Please contact Eddie Ciprazo, campus Laser Safety Officer at lso@berkeley.edu or (510) 643-9243 if you have special laser safety training needs or circumstances, or if you have any questions regarding the revised campus laser safety training requirement.

Register my new laser?

All Class 3B or 4 lasers systems are required to be registered. If you are unsure of your status, please contact Eddie Ciprazo, campus laser safety officer at lso@berkeley.edu or (510) 643-9243. Laser pointers, Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3R are exempt from this requirement.

Obtaining an Laser Use Authorization (LUA)

  1. Please submit a Laser Use Authorization (LUA) form to the Laser Safety Officer (LSO).
  2. The LSO will review the application and inform the applicant of the safety requirements under the specific LUA.
  3. The LUA is then signed by the LSO and the Chair of the Laser Safety Committee (LSC).

Important:

All users of the laser, including the PI, are required to be trained.

Whenever there are changes to the authorized user list, the LSO must be notified.

If the laser is moved or changes are made to how it is used, the LSO must be notified.

Get training in laser safety?

If you are not already on a Laser Use Authorization (LUA):

If you have been on an LUA for three or more years:

Note: Equivalent laser safety training that meets the campus requirement is also available at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Likewise, the campus training meets the LBNL requirement. Please contact the LBNL Laser Safety Officer, Greta Toncheva, at (510) 495-2544 for training class information.

Questions? Please contact Eddie Ciprazo, campus Laser Safety Officer at lso@berkeley.edu or (510) 643-9243 if you have special laser safety training needs or circumstances, or if you have any questions regarding the revised campus laser safety training requirement.

Resources

Laser Safety Signs

Laser hazard signs must be conspicuously posted to warn onlookers of the potential hazard. The appropriate warning or danger sign shall be posted at the entryway(s) and, if deemed necessary by the LSO, should also be posted within the laser-controlled area.

For Class 3B and Class 4 signs, ensure the signs include:

  • type of laser(s),
  • wavelength(s) used,
  • and power output used.
  • Minimum OD for the laser wavelengths is listed on your laser use authorization (LUA) document.

Signs

Class 3B - Warning: Laser Controlled Area

Class 4 - Warning: Laser Controlled Area

Class 4 - Danger: Laser Controlled Area - Use of this sign requires Laser Safety Officer (LSO) authorization.

Notice: Do Not Enter

Notice: Unattended Laser in Operation

Lasers Not in Use - Storage Only Stickers (Avery 5163 Labels)

Lighted Hazards Warning - Contact LSO for this sign.

Laser Safety Equipment Vendors

Laser Protective Eyewear

Kentek | LaserVision | NOIR

Laser Curtains, Barriers, Guards, etc.

Rockwell | Kentek | LaserVision | 80/20 | Minitec | Laser Safety Systems

Laser Safety Tools - IR/UV Viewers and cards, meters, beam stops, beam tubes

Edmund Optics | ThorLabsFind-R-Scope | Gentec-eo | MKS NewportMKS Ophir

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.

Non-Ionizing Radiation Sources (Non-Laser)

The modern world is full of devices that, either directly or indirectly, act as sources of non-ionizing radiation (NIR). These sources produce NIR in the electromagnetic spectrum of wavelengths/frequencies ranging from 100 nm to static fields. Many NIR sources are present on the UC Berkeley campus, either in research applications or in ancillary equipment.

In general, NIR tends to be less hazardous to humans than ionizing radiation (ionizing radiation has a wavelength of less than 100 nm or photon energy greater than 12.4 electron Volts). However, depending on the wavelength/frequency and the irradiance (or power density) value, NIR sources may present a human health hazard.

The Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Manual is intended to provide guidance in maintaining a safe NIR work environment on the campus. Please contact Eddie Ciprazo at (510) 643-9243 if you need additional information.

Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety (Non-Laser) Manual

Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Committee (NIRSC)

Summary of Charges

Advises on all safety and compliance matters related to non-ionizing radiation, reviews and approves uses of lasers and laser systems, advises Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) staff in carrying out campus Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety Program in accordance with applicable State and Federal requirements.

Contact List for Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Safety

Chair: Austin Roorda, Professor of Optometry, 642-2380, aroorda@berkeley.edu

EH&S Coordinator-Member: Eddie Ciprazo, Laser Safety Officer, 643-9243, lso@berkeley.edu

Administrative Support: Contact EH&S at (510) 642-3073

EH&S Contact

Laser Safety Officer (LSO): Eddie Ciprazo (510) 643-9243, lso@berkeley.edu