Laser Safety is the safe design, use and implementation of lasers to minimize the risk of laser accidents, especially those involving eye injuries. Since even relatively small amounts of laser light can lead to permanent eye injuries, the usage of lasers is typically subject to government regulations.
Moderate and high-power lasers are potentially hazardous because they can burn the retina of the eye, or even the skin. To control the risk of injury, various specifications, for example 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1040 in the US and IEC 60825 internationally, define “classes” of lasers depending on their power and wavelength. These regulations impose upon manufacturers required safety measures, such as labeling lasers with specific warnings, and wearing laser safety goggles when operating lasers. Consensus standards, such as American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z136, provide users with control measures for laser hazards, as well as various tables helpful in calculating maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits and accessible exposures limits (AELs).
Some Providence College courses involve the usage of lasers. As such, Providence College has developed a “Laser Safety Program”, which ensures compliance by outlining required training measures for both faculty and students; proper eyewear requirements for laser operators; and other control area requirements to prevent accidental exposures. The Laser Safety Program can be accessed below.