Laser Safety Program


Only qualified and trained faculty, staff or graduate students may operate Class 3B and/or Class 4 lasers at Auburn University. To be qualified, a laser operator must meet both the training requirements outlined below, and operational qualifications established by the responsible PI.  The following training must be completed consecutively before persons are permitted to operate lasers and/or laser systems without supervision. 


•          General laser safety training

•          Site-specific/on-the-job training


The first part of Laser Safety Training is an online course offered by the Department of Risk Management & Safety. In this initial laser safety-training module, the general laser safety principles will be covered. This includes engineering, administrative, personal protective laser safety controls, biological effects of laser radiation, common causes of laser accidents, non-beam hazards, and human behavioral factors as they relate to laser safety.


The second part of training is referred to as Site-specific/on-the-job training. This is to be conducted by the Principal Investigator (PI) or an experienced senior researcher. Hands-on-training has been shown to be effective and it provides an opportunity for new users to work at their own pace and have plenty of opportunities to ask questions while they are supervised. The result, hands-on-training helps comfort new users, provide experience, and set the standard to operate the laser safely.

On-the-job training must be conducted by the PI or an experienced senior researcher in the laser laboratory. All persons must be provided with adequate training so that they are sufficiently competent to operate the lasers independently and safely. All appropriate operational procedures (laser system startup, alignment, controls, shutdown etc.) need to be covered in this training, including the necessary safety equipment and other safety related considerations.


It is the expectation to complete general laser safety training first before completing the hands-on-training. The Certificate of Training Form will be completed and submitted to the LSO indicating that this second component of training has been performed. Completion of all training must be documented. Remember, only qualified and trained users may operate Class 3B and/or Class 4 lasers. It is important to satisfy both training components as outlined in this section.


It is recommended that all operators of class 1, 1M, 2, 2M, and 3R lasers and laser systems and all incidental personnel or spectators who may be allowed to enter laser controlled areas receive a laser safety briefing provided by PI before operating the laser or entering the controlled area.



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