LASER is an acronym which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The laser produces an intense, highly directional beam of light. The most common cause of laser-induced tissue damage is thermal in nature, where the tissue proteins are denatured due to the temperature rise following absorption of laser energy.
The human body is vulnerable to the output of certain lasers, and under certain circumstances, exposure can result in damage to the eye and skin. Research relating to injury thresholds of the eye and skin has been carried out in order to understand the biological hazards of laser radiation. It is now widely accepted that the human eye is almost always more vulnerable to injury than human skin.
Provides references that may aid in recognizing laser hazards in the workplace.
- OSHA/Laser Institute of America (LIA) Alliance: A collaborative relationship to foster safer and more healthful American workplaces. The Alliance provides LIA's members and others, including small businesses with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect employees' health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to laser beam and non-beam hazards in industrial and medical workplaces. Safety bulletins and fact sheets can be found on this webpage.
- Eye and Face Protection. OSHA eTool. Provides a comprehensive hazard assessment, information about selecting protective devices for the workplace, as well as OSHA requirements.
- Optical Radiation: Laser Protection. Discusses the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be used to protect against laser hazards in the workplace.
- Hospital. OSHA eTool. Focuses on some of the hazards and controls found in the hospital setting, and describes standard requirements as well as recommended safe work practices for healthcare workers.
- Surgical Suite Module - Laser Hazards. Recommends solutions for laser hazards in the hospital setting.
- Surgical Suite Module - Smoke Plume. Reports that an estimated 500,000 workers are exposed to laser or electro-surgical smoke each year, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical technologists.