Laser Safety Training
Safety with high powered lasers is a critical issue that cannot be overlooked. Despite their brilliant beams and ability to burn, high power laser pointers and portable lasers are only a danger to your eyes. The danger that lasers represent to your eyes though is very serious. The visual receptors in your eyes are part of your central nervous system which means if your eyes are damaged, they do not heal or recover. Ever.
As far as power output, laser pointers and portable lasers do not release that much power. Especially not when compared to a normal 75W or 100W light globe. What makes the light from lasers so dangerous is that it has two unique properties.
- Coherent and focused. The energy is focused on a very small area similar to the way a magnifying glass focuses the sun.
- Collimated. The light does not spread out from a laser, it stays in a focused narrow beam that makes lasers almost as dangerous at a distance as close up.
This not to say you should be afraid of lasers or avoid using them. What you should do how ever is to treat lasers with respect, be aware of their dangers and follow some basic guidelines to ensure your safety.
Laser Safety Training Guidelines
- Never point your laser at another person, especially their face.
- Never under any circumstances look directly into the laser beam. Even if it is a low powered laser, you don't want to take chances with your eyes.
- Always be conscious of and aware of reflective surfaces such as mirrors, polished metal or glass. A reflected beam can also harm your eyes.
- Only use laser in a controlled environment.
- Do not let other people use your laser unless they are fully aware of the dangers of lasers.
- Laser beams can go for miles so never randomly use your laser outside.
- Wear laser safety glasses if you are using your high power laser for dangerous applications.
If you adhere to these guidelines and exercise simple common sense and care, you will be able enjoy and use your high power lasers in complete safety.
Q: How do laser safety glasses work?
A: Chemical additives are injected into the polycarbonate lens during the molding process. Those chemical additives will filter specific wavelengths such as green light with a 532nm wavelength.
Q: Can I look into the laser beam when wearing my laser safety glasses?
A: No. Laser safety glasses are designed to protect your eyes against accidental direct and reflected hits of the laser beam. They are not designed for long-term deliberate exposure to laser beams.
Q: What is OD or optical density?
A: OD is the ability of the laser safety glasses to weaken or block a specific wavelength of light. The higher the OD, the less light that will be transmitted by the glasses. OD is based on a factor of 10 so with an OD >3 less than 1/1000 of the laser beam energy will be transmitted by the glasses and less than 1/10 000 of the laser beam energy will be transmitted by glasses with an OD >4 glasses.