Rules for Working with Lasers and Other High Intensity Light Sources

  • Never look directly at any laser beam or at any other source of high intensity radiation.
  • Serious eye damage can result from exposure to high levels of any form of electro-magnetic radiation. Pulsed lasers are particularly dangerous since the energy is delivered in a very short time. Ultraviolet and infrared sources, laser and otherwise, should be handled with particular care since the radiation is invisible to the human eye. Be especially careful around the pulsed lasers in Room E115. Appropriate goggles must be worn when the pulsed laser is on. Before entering the lab, look to see if the light outside of the room is flashing, therefore showing that the laser is in use and goggles must be on.
  • Avoid looking at laser light reflected from any shiny surfaces.
  • All areas in which lasers and other high intensity light sources are being used should be clearly marked with appropriate warning labels. (See Laser Focus Buyers Guide, 1993, for details on classes of lasers and warnings.) Do not enter areas where lasers are being operated except when you are accompanied by a faculty member or student who is familiar with laser operation.
  • Always be sure that you know where the laser beam is directed in any experiment.
  • Most lasers have high voltages associated with their power supplies. All precautions outlined in this manual for working with electrical equipment should be followed.
  • High intensity ultraviolet lamps any many laser power supplies produce ozone. Adequate ventilation is essential in such cases.
  • Eye goggles which absorb the laser radiation should be worn where appropriate. Broad band absorption goggles which hinder vision, and hence introduce additional safety hazards, should be avoided.
  • Do not allow high power laser light to come in contact with your skin, as burns may result.