Carnegie Mellon University

Laser Safety and Inspection Management

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 Registration

For ALL areas containing lasers, the Principal Investigator(PI), lead researcher, or supervisor is responsible for providing EHS with an up-to-date inventory of those lasers. This information must include the:

  • Manufacturer
  • Model and serial number of the unit
  • Location
  • Laser classification
  • Wavelength(s) of radiation
  • Power
  • Pulse details (for pulsed lasers)
  • Laser medium
  • Beam divergence
  • Intended application for the unit
Researchers who have already submitted a registration form do not need to re-submit this document unless they wish to modify their inventory. Please send completed forms to our Laser Safety Officer.

Documentation of Laser Use

Documentation of laser use is a critical element of working with lasers. The EHS “LASER Use Authorization Form” 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, the identification of possible hazards, and how these hazards will be controlled.

Additionally, SOP's must be developed and posted for Class 3B and Class 4 Laser use.

Warning Signs and Labels

warning signs laser
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. DO NOT remove any hazard identification labels from a laser system.

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 EHS at (412) 268-8182.

Medical Monitoring

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

white coat nametag


  • All laser users should attend the EHS Laser Safety Training class; it is MANDATORY for users of Class 3b and Class 4 lasers (users of Confocal Microscopes are exempt from this requirement). Check BioRAFT for the next upcoming session.