Use of Lasers Not to Be Taken Lightly

A relatively recent addition to the workplace, lasers are a powerful tool. They can be used in all sorts of professions—from industry to medicine—and the benefits they provide workers in these fields cannot be emphasized enough. Nevertheless, using lasers is no small task. Aside from the fact that successful use of laser requires a high degree of precision, lasers can also be very dangerous in the wrong hands. It’s important that anyone operating a laser understand the precautions necessary to keep him or herself and coworkers out of harm’s way.

Not all lasers are the same. They are classified based on how much radiation they emit, how hot they are and the amount of light they produce. Class 4 lasers are the most dangerous, but even class 1 lasers, which produce very little radiation, can be hazardous.

Even though the science behind lasers may seem intimidating, it should be reassuring to know that staying safe around them is cut-and-dry. Most importantly—and obviously—a laser should never be unattended. In a similar vein, if using a laser is not pertinent to whatever task is at hand, it should be turned off and possibly covered up with a cap or shutter.

It’s best to avoid direct exposure to a laser, period. However, lasers are particularly dangerous if they come into contact with the eye. They can severely damage the fluid in the eye and even cause blindness. Anyone working with a laser should be aware of the hazards associated with even slight exposure. In order to minimize this risk, it is absolutely vital that protective goggles are worn. One should perform test runs with a laser at lower settings and make sure not to put his or her eyes at the level of the laser (which, for that matter, should always be projected in a horizontal—never vertical—direction). To prevent reflections, jewelry and any other reflective objects should not be worn while a laser is being operated.

Certain high-intensity laser beams can cause more than just eye damage. These potential problems include fires and skin damage. Lasers that emit such high intensity beams should be constantly monitored and travel through an opaque tube.

Lasers are truly incredible inventions, but using them in the workplace should not be taken lightly. For one, they can cause severe damage to the eyes, and higher intensity lasers can cause even greater problems. But if the correct precautions are taken, lasers can be safely honed and used in a variety of beneficial ways.