Nowadays, a common safety message used in industries is “DANGER. Laser in Use”. What’s interesting is that many devices use laser light. In fact, these devices have so many practical uses, which is why they have become so common. These devices are used for things like guiding blade alignments on portable cut-off saws. They can also be used as surveying equipment in construction which helps with the layout of interior walls and ceiling grids. The use of lasers can be carried out for many operations – especially for times where you may need to lay a perfectly straight line on an uneven surface. Even these devices can cut through steel. Simply stated, lasers are an important tool for improving accuracy and productivity. That being said, they should always be treated with respect.
Lasers can create dangers for those people who work with them or work around them. There are four classifications of lasers.
Class One: This class doesn’t produce any hazard or personal injury, under normal conditions.
Class Two: There are low-powered laser beams, so they usually do not result in any hazard if it is viewed for a short period.
Class Three (a): If viewed for a momentary period without proper protection, it doesn’t result in any hazard.
Class Three (b): These lasers are a little more intense, and can create a hazard if viewed directly.
Class Four: When viewed using the naked eye, it can cause hazardous effects. It can also inflict skin damage and has the potential to start a fire.
To prevent possible injury when working with lasers, it is important to know which class you are working with (or working nearby). Here are some important laser safety reminders below:
- Standard laser warnings should be placed in all the work areas where lasers are used
- Laser operators must be qualified and fully trained. Proof of their qualifications must stay all the time with them.
- Never point a laser beam directly at another worker — even unintentionally.
- In the case of snow, fog, rain, or heavy dust in the air, the use of lasers must be avoided. Such weather conditions scatter or deflect the radiation.
- Lasers must be properly capped, turned off and its beam should be closed at times when it is left unattended for a specific period (i.e. mealtime, during a work shift change, or overnight).
The intensity of laser light can be very harmful. You should always take care when you are working with or around lasers and respect warning signage in the area.