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Lasers: Department Policy

The Department now has two Laser Safety Officers, with the split of responsibility largely as follows:

  • Richard Gymer, rwg11 to be the primary source of advice and guidance
  • Saba Alai, sa792 to undertake the major part of the record-keeping

Both will still be involved in training and inspection.

The following details for all lasers of classes 3A, 3R, 3B and 4, including embedded lasers that are serviced on site, but excluding laser printers and CD writers, must be lodged with Jane Blunt:

  • Class, wavelength, type, manufacturer, power/energy,
  • The designated supervisor,
  • The authorized users,
  • The location (room number).

Any laser in the designated classes brought onto the site, whether purchased, on loan or transferred from elsewhere must be notified to Saba Alai as soon as possible. Any changes in designated supervisors must always be notified as soon as possible. As an annual check, designated laser supervisors will be circulated with the existing data, so that they can confirm that the details are still correct.

All lasers within the department must be sited and operated in accordance with current Statutory, University and Departmental rules. These are to be found in the University Code of Practice. Safety precautions that are addressed properly at the design stage are almost certainly cheaper and more effective than those that are tagged on later. Richard Gymer is happy to assist with the planning and implementation of safety precautions.

Note in particular that beam enclosure is the default condition required by law for class 3B and class 4 lasers. Open beam work with such lasers MUST by law be justified in writing within the risk assessment.

Laser safety courses are run both by the Department (contact Richard Gymer or Saba Alai for details) and by the University. Access to the University courses is via this page

All designated laser supervisors must

  • Be members of the academic or permanent staff,
  • Attend a laser safety course,
  • Ensure that each of the lasers for which they are responsible has a risk assessment and a set of local rules,
  • Ensure that work is always done according to the local rules and the safe system of work defined by the risk assessment.

All users of lasers of classes 3B or 4 must

  • Read the University code of practice and abide by the advice,
  • Register with Saba Alai, using the User Authorization Form linked to this page,
  • Attend either the University course for users of classes 3B or 4 lasers, or the Department course,

All lasers of classes 3A, 3R, 3B or 4, including embedded lasers that are serviced on site (but excluding laser printers and CD writers) must:

  • Have a risk assessment which is up-to-date and adequate,
  • Have local rules
  • Have a copy of the local rules and the risk assessment lodged with Jane Blunt, and a second copy kept in a prominent place in the laser room itself.

The risk assessment should identify the key requirements for specific practical training and this should be defined in the local rules. This practical training is the responsibility of the Research Group, and the details of its contents, and the fact that it has been given, should be recorded in writing.

If, on inspection, a laser is discovered that

  • lacks any significant element of the required documentation, or
  • is set up so that its use contravenes the guidance, or
  • has users who are not authorized or who have not undertaken the training requirements,

then the Laser Safety Officers reserve the right to suspend its use.


This page was last updated 12/01/2016 by S Alai.