Laser Safety-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Laser Safety

There are a great many lasers and laser-containing devices present at Carnegie Mellon University. Our Laser Safety Program comprises several different activities:

Laser Inventory

For all areas where lasers are present, the PI, lead researcher or supervisor is responsible for providing Environmental Health and Safety with information about the laser. This information must include the manufacturer, model and serial number of the unit, along with its location, laser classification, wavelength(s) of radiation, power, pulse details (for pulsed lasers), the laser medium, beam divergence, and the intended application for the unit.  Please fill out the laser inventory form on the right and submit to Andrew Lawson (LSO) or Angela Reid.

Medical Monitoring

Users of Class 3b and 4 laser systems should be offered initial medical evaluations prior to their laser use. EH&S has arranged with a contracting medical center to perform these evaluations. Contact EH&S at (412) 268-8182 for further detail.

Training

All laser users should attend the EH&S Laser Safety Training class; it is MANDATORY for users of Class 3b and Class 4 lasers. Check the EH&S training page for further information.

Protecting Yourself from Laser Overexposure

A wide variety of control measures are possible for the safe operation of laser equipment. A key element in this process is the need to maintain radiation levels below the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) as outlined in ANSI Z136.4. Examples of these controls are protective eyewear, beam stops, protective interlocks, limited beam paths, controlled areas and protective housings. If you are unsure of the status of your laser equipment with regard to maintaining exposures below the MPE, contact EH&S at (412) 268-8182.

Warning Signs and Labels

A thorough system of warning signs and labels is in place to provide suitable awareness of laser hazards. This system warns persons of the presence not only of hazardous radiation, but also of related fire, chemical and electrical hazards.

Documentation of Laser Use

Documentation of laser systems is a critical element of working with lasers and consists of two main components:

Laser Registration
The EH&S “Laser Inventory Form” (see helpful links) is a tool that researchers can use to send information to EH&S regarding any Class 3B or 4 lasers that are used or owned by persons on campus.  The laser inventory that EH&S maintains is derived from this form.  Those researchers who have already submitted an accurate and up-to-date inventory do not need to fill out this registration form.  Please contact Andrew Lawson at alawson@andrew.cmu.edu for more information. 

Laser Use Authorization Form
Also a recently developed application, the EH&S “LASER Use Authorization Form” (see helpful links) must be completed by researchers who plan to use Class 3B and Class 4 Lasers for their research.  This application contains information regarding the type of laser(s), the proposed use of the laser(s), the identification of any possible hazards, and how these hazards will be controlled.  Again, if you plan to use a Class 3B or Class 4 Laser, you must complete this form.  Please contact Andrew Lawson at alawson@andrew.cmu.edu for more information.