Laser Safety

Return to Research Safety  *   Submit Initial Laser Registration

070736_MikeIvey_003The success of a laser safety program depends upon many people working together to achieve a common goal – the goal ‘to use lasers safely and to comply with regulations and accepted industry standards.’  In order to achieve and maintain this goal, responsibilities are shared among all involved – the institution, the owner, and the users. Laser Safety at UA is primarily based on information from the ANSI Z136 series for laser usage.  These standards are recognized by OSHA and are considered the safety “norm” for laser users.  Additional requirements can be imposed by UA in addition to any requirements addressed in the ANSI standards.  A copy of the most current versions of the ANSI standards is available at EHS.  All UA requirements are discussed in the UA Laser Safety Manual.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for the management of the Laser Safety Program at The University of Alabama. The Assistant Director – Compliance of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety shall act as the Laser Safety Officer on behalf of The University of Alabama. This individual has the authority and responsibility to monitor and enforce the control and laser hazards and to effect the knowledgeable evaluation and control of laser hazards in coordination with the Laser Safety Committee. This Laser Safety Program shall cover all areas and personnel where lasers of any type or classification are used, operated, or stored. The requirements for each area (control measures, signage, training, etc.) vary depending on the laser classification and usage.

Laser pointers are not exempt from all regulations, but they are subject to separate requirements as discussed in the Laser Safety Manual.

Laser printers and scanners are not covered in this program.

Laser Registration

All lasers, regardless of classification, must be registered with the Laser Safety Program.  All PIs who own or use lasers should submit an Initial Laser Registration.  Registration is required prior to ordering an laser system.  Registrations for Class 3B and Class 4 lasers are reviewed by the Laser Safety Committee before the order is approved for purchase.

Additional documentation is required for Class 3B and Class 4 lasers, including a safety checklist and a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP).  These can be submitted via the Laser Registration link at on the EHS SharePoint page.  Additional information about accessing this page can be found in the newsletter, EHS Sharepoint Access Information.

Information about training and the training course request can be found at Training.

Information about ordering lasers, laser systems or other items can be found in Ordering Information.

Shipping of laser materials of any type is potentially subject to DOT and/or IATA regulations.  Please review our Shipping Information.

Laboratory Decommissioning guidelines and equipment/room tags are posted at Forms and Supporting Documents.  Before anyone else can move into a lab room, all lab spaces MUST be decommissioned (by the exiting Lab PI or Research Group) anytime you relinquish control the space for any reason.

Assistance is always available from the Laser Safety Officer (Marcy Huey) at EHS.

Forms or Documents

Some Helpful Links