Laser Safety for Class 4 Conversion Module
EXPOSURE TO THE LASER MATERIAL PROCESSING BEAM CAN RESULT IN BURNS TO THE SKIN AND CAN CAUSE SEVERE EYE DAMAGE.
Proper use and care of this system are essential to safe operation. Use of controls or adjustments or performance of procedures other than those specified herein may result in exposure to hazardous laser radiation.
WHEN USING THE OPTIONAL CLASS 4 CONVERSION MODULE, PROPER EYEWEAR MUST BE USED AT ALL TIMES WHEN THE BEAM INDICATOR IS ILLUMINATED ON THE CLASS 4 CONTROL PANEL.
Eyewear must be properly-certified for use with and protection from all material processing laser wavelengths in use (10.6 microns, 9.3 microns and 1.06 microns) and must be at least optical density 5+. If unsure of proper eyewear requirements, do not operate the laser system with Class 4 Conversion Module installed and consult your certified Laser Safety Officer or contact LASER PHOTONICS CORPORATION Factory Support Team at [email protected].
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Laser cleaning, cutting, engraving, and marking machines are equipped with interlocked access panels on either side of the unit. An optional Class 4 Conversion Module is available to allow the user to operate the laser system with the side panels open. This device bypasses the safety interlocks on the side panels of the laser system. With this optional device in place, the protective system housing will not fully contain the infrared laser radiation produced by the laser source(s), creating the potential for exposure. Use of this optional device redefines the safety classification of the laser system from Class 1, which is considered safe for use under all conditions of normal use, to Class 4, which is considered potentially hazardous. Additionally, the system housing will not contain flames or by-products from the potential ignition of materials within the system housing. It should also be noted that damage or ignition of flammable materials in the immediate or remote vicinity can be caused by infrared laser radiation escaping the housing of a system equipped with the Class 4 Conversion Module.
There are a number of mandatory safety measures set by national and international laws and standards that must be complied with when operating a Class 4 laser system. Certain safety measures are provided by the manufacturer through incorporation into the optional Class 4 Conversion Module, including the following:
- Remote Interlock Connection – A means of remotely connecting to the interlock circuit of the laser system allowing the connection of remote switches for deactivating the laser. This feature can be used to connect an interlock switch to the doors of the designated room in which the laser system will be operated so that the laser is automatically deactivated when the doors are open.
- Key Control – A removable key that prevents unauthorized operation of the laser.
- Laser Radiation Emission Warning Device – A visible warning light that indicates when the laser is capable of emitting laser radiation.
- Attenuator – A mechanical device to block the emission of laser radiation. This device takes the form of a shutter which is manually operated.
- Class 4 Warning Label – A Class 4 warning label to indicate the laser system is classified as Class 4.
In addition to a properly-installed exterior exhaust connected to the laser system equipped with the Class 4 Conversion Module, the laser system must be operated only in a continuously well-ventilated area. Certain operational safety measures are the responsibility of the laser system Owner when the optional Class 4 Conversion Module is installed.
THESE SAFETY MEASURES ARE MANDATORY FOR OPERATION OF CLASS 4 LASER SYSTEMS UNDER FEDERAL AND STATE LAW IN THE UNITED STATES AS WELL AS UNDER THE LAWS OF MOST FOREIGN COUNTRIES.
Many of these safety measures are outlined in ANSI Standard Z136.1 American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers or in equivalent standards available in most foreign countries, such as the European Standard EN 60825-1. Other safety measures may be required by state and/or local authorities, for example, the Regulation BGV B2 on laser beams of the German Employer’s Liability Insurance Association, and it is the responsibility of the Owner to understand and adhere to these laws. A brief synopsis of the most common safety requirements addressed to Owners of a Class 4 laser system is outlined below:
- In any facility in which a Class 4 laser system is to be operated, an individual must be designated as a Laser Safety Officer (LSO) who will assume the authority and responsibility to monitor and enforce the control of laser hazards. The LSO should be trained in laser safety and be aware of all safety measures set by law. There are many avenues available to acquire this training. Recognized sources of this training are the Laser Institute of America (www.laserinstitute.org), the Employer’s Insurance Liability Associations in European countries, or laser safety associations within the Owner’s country or territory
- The Owner of a Class 4 laser system will be responsible for the creation of a controlled area in which the Class 4 laser system will be operated. A controlled area is designed to fully contain the laser radiation that can potentially escape from a Class 4 laser system, with measures in place to prevent unauthorized personnel from entering the area, including lighted warning signs outside the designated and controlled area and interlocks on entryways.
- The LSO will be responsible for designating and training all personnel authorized to operate, maintain, or service a Class 4 laser system. It will also be the responsibility of the LSO to take measures to inform and restrict all unauthorized personnel from access to a Class 4 laser system.
- The Owner of a Class 4 laser system will be responsible for identifying and providing to all authorized personnel any protective equipment such as specially-designed eyewear, protective equipment, and clothing needed when operating, maintaining, or servicing a Class 4 laser system. Furthermore, the Owner will ensure that no juveniles operate the laser. If the laser is in use, the user will also ensure that mirrors, lenses, and other reflecting materials are fixed and are only moved in a controlled manner.
- The LSO will be responsible for regularly auditing all safety measures. This includes regular retraining of authorized personnel, serialization and regular inspection (and replacement when necessary) of all special eyewear and clothing, and regular inspection of all safety measures surrounding the controlled area in which a Class 4 laser system is operated. The LSO may be required to maintain records as necessary to prove compliance.
- The LSO will be responsible for regular medical surveillance of all authorized personnel operating a Class 4 laser system. For example, this includes but is not limited to, mandatory annual eye exams.
- Class 4 laser systems must not be used at trade shows or exhibitions.
- Prolonged exposure to reflected light from a high power IR (1064nm) laser can cause skin burn. Some individuals are photosensitive or maybe taking prescription drugs that can induce increased photo-sensitivity. It is recommended to use appropriate face, arm, and hand covering to minimize skin exposure.
This list is not all-inclusive. Other mandatory safety measures may be applicable and will vary from state-to-state and country-to-country. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CLASS 4 SYSTEM OWNER AND THE OWNER OF THE FACILITY IN WHICH IT WILL BE OPERATED TO IDENTIFY AND COMPLY WITH ALL PERTINENT REGULATIONS. In some states, for example, anyone wishing to operate a Class 4 laser system must register with the state radiation regulatory agency, pay annual fees, and submit to annual inspections. There may be penalties involved in non-compliance. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also adopted rules for the safe use of lasers in the workplace. The LSO must comply with all Rules and Regulations set by law. To reiterate, the safety measures relating to the operation of a Class 4 laser system are mandatory under Federal and State law in the United States as well as in most foreign countries. If an operator/owner is unable or unwilling to comply with all safety measures required for the safe operation of a Class 4 laser system, the optional Class 4 laser conversion module must not be used. For more info on laser safety awareness please visit www.lia.org.
Crystalline Silica Rule History
In approaching the end of 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released its long-term regulatory agenda, setting forth the Agency’s schedule for the next 12 months.
Of the topics slated for the year is the release of OSHA’s proposed rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica, slated to take place in June 2020.
Silica is one of Earth’s most common minerals, found in stone, rock, brick, mortar, and block. Exposure to airborne silica dust occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block and other stone products and in operations using sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, and abrasive blasting.