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Basic Laser Safety - Introduction

    All lasers and laser light show systems have intrinsic dangers - even laser pointers! Observation of basic laser safety rules and the specific safety regulations of the jurisdiction in which you operate are essential.

    Caution Laser in Use Sign

    We can NOT hope to review laser safety regulations on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis - there is just not enough space. Instead we will focus on some general safety information that applies across the board. If you do need specific safety information for a particular jurisdiction, contact the authorities in your area or the embassy for the country in question and ask.

Basic Laser Safety Information:

More detailed Laser Safety information:

Eye hazards such as retinal or cornea burns
Skin hazards
such as burns
Electrical hazards
from high voltage equipment
Fire and flood

Laserist Introduction
Laser Safety Archives
- articles, papers and links
Laser Safety Regulations
- links to safety authorities
Laser Safety Links
- selected off-site safety links


Laser Hazards

    A laser can be considered as a highly collimated source of extremely intense electromagnetic radiation that is defined by three characteristics: monochromatic, directional and coherent. Due to the temporal and spatial coherence of the laser beam it can be considered as a point source of phenomenal brightness than can easily exceed the brightness of the sun. Lasers are a more directional light source than any other common fixture such as stage lights or a follow-spot. The higher the optical output power of the laser, the greater the potential hazard.

Classification of lasers
We have not classified lasers by class or output power, nor have we made mention of any hazard labels or warning signs that may be required. This is because the classification of lasers and labels/signage varies by jurisdiction. Check with your local authorities as to the classification of your system(s) and any labels or signage that may be required.

Audience Scanning
    In enlightened jurisdictions where audience scanning is permitted, as the laser operator you must take all precautions to make sure the audience scanning effects are intrinsically safe. The power of the effects used must meet the exposure levels permitted in your area. Audience scanning is a big responsibility as you could ruin hundreds of people's vision.



Laser Safety Regulations

Laser Safety is regulated by different authorities in each country. Here are some links to North American regulatory authorities:


[ Introduction | Eye and Skin Hazards | Electrical fire and flood hazardsBasic safety precautions | Laser Pointer Safety ]
[ Laserist Introduction | Laser Safety Archives | Laser Safety Regulations | Laser Safety Links ]


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