Laser Safety

Meets the requirements of a general laser safety training program for research and medical institutions.

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About this Course

This course provides fundamental training for the use of lasers and laser systems in research and medical institutions. A crucial piece of every laser safety program is the knowledge, by each individual working with or near lasers, of the hazards faced and the ways in which the work can be performed safely. It includes a review of basic laser concepts, specific types of lasers and their uses, hazard evaluations and classifications, potential biological effects and mechanisms of injury, safety practices and protective measures, and regulations. Completion of this course will empower the learner to create and maintain a positive culture of laser safety at their institution.

Course Preview:

Language Availability: English

Suggested Audiences: Clinical Investigators, Faculty, Nurses, Physicians, Researchers, Staff, Technicians, Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Organizational Subscription Price: $675 per year/per site for government and non-profit organizations; $750 per year/per site for for-profit organizations
Independent Learner Price: $99 per person

Demo Instructions

Course Content

Introduction to Lasers

This module introduces the fundamental characteristics and operation of lasers and how they differ from other sources of radiation and other light emitting sources. Individuals who work with or around lasers must be familiar with the basic operating concepts of lasers to understand how to work safely. This module explores the properties of a laser to show the unique characteristics that make them useful tools in our everyday lives and in advancing research and medicine fields. It also compares laser radiation to other common categories of radiation to better understand the injury mechanisms that will be discussed further in this course. Finally, the module reviews the basic components common to all lasers and the different uses of lasers in our everyday lives, in research applications, and in medical treatments to provide context about the ubiquitous nature of lasers in our world today.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20624 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University

Laser Types and Hazard Classifications

Users of lasers or laser systems must understand the basic design of a laser or laser system. Understanding the process of creating laser light helps build a complete picture of the hazards associated with lasers. This module discusses the three main components of a laser and common media used in those designs to produce laser light of varying characteristics. It explores common laser types that individuals may encounter and their general uses and covers laser configurations to help illustrate how the design of a laser beam path can affect the hazards associated with a laser or laser system. The module concludes with the four hazard classifications, and sub-classifications where applicable, so you can begin to understand the design, classification, regulation, and safe usage of lasers.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20625 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University

Laser Regulations and Guidance

This module covers the regulation of lasers in the United States. Authority for oversight and assurance of the safe use of lasers falls under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA, being responsible for the overall safety of employees in the U.S., relies on guidance and input from other organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Other organizations, such as the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), also contribute safety guidance specific to their areas of focus. This module discusses these agencies, the regulations and guidance that apply to lasers, and resources available to users of laser systems. It concludes with an outline of the required components of a laser safety program at any facility that uses Class 3B or Class 4 lasers.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20626 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University

Biological Effects of Laser Radiation

This module presents the biological effects associated with exposures to laser radiation. An overview of laser power and energy, along with irradiance and radiant exposure, will give you a sense of the power and energy that laser beams contain. The module discusses allowable limits for emission in the context of how they affect the laser classification and overall hazard, maximum exposure levels for users, the delivery of laser energy, how a laser beam can cause injury to the eyes or skin, the three main mechanisms of injury that are associated with lasers, the structures of the eye and skin, and how exposures greater than allowable levels can cause mild to severe injury.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20627 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University

Beam Hazards and Control Measures

This module describes the hazards that exposures to a laser beam or reflections of a laser beam can present. It reviews the three types of beam exposure and the differences between a direct exposure to the beam, an exposure to a specular reflection, and an exposure to a diffuse reflection. In addition, the module discusses the types of hazard zones and protection factors to identify where injuries may occur. It concludes with a review of the beam control options, including engineering controls, administrative controls, and laser protective equipment.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20628 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University

Non-Beam Hazards

This module reviews laser hazards not directly associated with the beam. Injuries in a laser-controlled area can be from a direct or indirect exposure to the laser beam or from other ancillary hazards. Non-beam injuries can cause severe injury ranging from chemical exposure to fatalities by electrocution or crush injury. The potential for these injuries can be great depending on the type of setup used, especially when electrical or fire hazards are present. In this module, you will explore the different types of non-beam hazards along with recommended and required protective measures.

Recommended Use: Required
ID (Language): 20629 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University

Use of Lasers in Healthcare Settings

This module reviews the uses of laser or laser systems in medical applications. There are significant uses of lasers in medical procedures where the laser beam is purposefully directed onto the eye or skin. As such, personnel in healthcare settings must ensure the safety of the patient and themselves. In most ways, use of lasers in healthcare settings will have the same controls and protective measures as any other laser. However, this module details additional controls specific to patient protection and infection control.

Recommended Use: Supplemental
ID (Language): 20630 (English)
Author(s): Zachariah Tribbett, CHP, CLSO, MA - Yale University


Who should take the Laser Safety course?

The suggested audience includes individuals who work with or in the vicinity of lasers and laser systems in research or healthcare settings. These individuals may include researchers, clinical investigators, undergraduate and graduate students, staff members, faculty, technicians, nurses, and physicians.

How long does it take to complete the Laser Safety course?

This course consists of six required modules and one supplemental module. However, it is recommended that the supplemental module be required for learners who work in healthcare settings. The modules contain detailed content and images, knowledge checks, and case studies, and each module includes a quiz.

Modules vary in length, and learners may require different amounts of time to complete them based on their familiarity and knowledge of the topic. However, the entire course should take about one to two hours to complete.

What are the standard recommendations for learner groups?

This course is designed such that learners should complete the first six modules in their entirety and sequentially. A recommendation is to set all six of these modules as “Required” for initial completion and the seventh module as supplemental. However, it is recommended that the “Use of Lasers in Healthcare Settings” module be required for learners who work in healthcare settings as well.

Is this course eligible for continuing medical education credits?

The Laser Safety course does not currently have CE/CME credits available.

Why should an organization subscribe to this course?

Organizational subscriptions provide access to the organization's affiliated members. This allows organizations to meet the safety training needs of individuals who work with or in the vicinity of lasers and laser systems.

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