UW Office of Radiation Safety (ORS) works with users of high powered lasers to ensure that they are used safely. The Laser Safety comprises of the Medical and Research Laser Safety program for UW–Madison and UW–Health.

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Laser Registration

Medical Clearance: Patient Guide to Medical Clearance for Laser Operators

UW-Madison policy mandates that any UW student, faculty, or staff members requesting access to a 3B or 4 Laser receive a Medical Clearance.
Occupational Medicine (OM) provides laser operator eye exams and medical clearance for UW- Madison faculty, staff, and student to receive approval for 3B or laser access from ORS.
Complete the following steps for a medical clearance to work with lasers:
1. Log on to MyUHS (
2. Click Medical Clearances (left column) Update:
• OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE: Privacy Notice and Consent to Treat
• OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE: Authorization for Release of Occupational Health Records
3. Call (608) 265-5610 to schedule a Laser Operator Eye Exam Appointment. The OM clinic is located at University Health Services (UHS), 6th floor Green.
4. Please bring your current glasses or contacts and vision correction prescription as your corrected and uncorrected vision will be tested.
5. Complete a questionnaire at your appointment Check-In to help identify pre-existing health issues which may place you at increased risk of eye damage due to work with lasers
6. Occupational Medicine will conduct a baseline vision screen which includes near and far vision test and screening for macular degeneration (using the Amsler Grid) and color blindness.
7. If your examination results are normal, you will be cleared to work with lasers and no further action is needed. Occupational Medicine will send your laser medical clearance to you and the Office of Radiation Safety (ORS) via a secure message.
8. If your examination results are abnormal, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist for a “UW Laser exam”.
9. A follow-up examination is only required in the case of an injury or if you would choose to have a follow-up exam upon conclusion of your Laser work.
The principal investigator, supervisor or safety coordinator can contact the UW Environmental Health and Safety- Radiation Safety (EHS-RS) group at (608) 265-5000 for advice and/or assistance in procurement of other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Laser Safety trainings.


On the Job Training

The PI/Supervisor or designee is responsible for giving the laser specific operating training covering the alignment procedures, administrative procedures, and other applicable SOPs. The record of the training shall be documented.

Online Required Training

A number of laser safety trainings are available online. Review the options here.

Warning signs, labels, and illuminated warning lights

The warning signs and lights warn the presence of a laser hazard inside the lab. Once you register the laser, ORS will do your lab assessment and help you with the signage.


Call 911 in all emergencies.

For reporting exposures not resulting in a severe injury

  • Stop all work and shut down all lasers in the lab
  • Notify your supervisor and ORS immediately
  • Fill out the injury reporting forms and submit through your department’s human resources representative.
  • Seek medical care at Urgent care or Emergency Department as needed.
  • Contact Occupational Medicine for possible evaluation at Davis-Dueher Dean Opthamology.

Resource Links


Karisa Yang
Phone: 608-219-6963

Group email


Research Lasers

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Laser Safety Handbook

Standard Operating Procedures

Written SOPs are required for the operation, alignment, maintenance, and service procedures for all Class 3B and Class 4 lasers or laser system.

SOP should be reviewed and followed by all users and must be available in the lab for access.
The manufacturer’s operating manual is not a substitute for an SOP.
SOP’s must include: (See resources section for a sample SOP)
• Laser details
• Room map (laser lab diagram)
• Laser application
• Operating procedures
• Control measures
• Non-beam and other associated hazards
• Personal protective equipment

Research Laser Safety Bulletins

Medical Lasers

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SVM Medical Laser Safety Plan

Standard Operating Procedures

The SOP will describe the responsibilities for which the health care personnel are accountable and reflect the standard of care mandated by the facility.
The following control measures should be included in the SOP:

• Proper signage to be used.
• Key interlock to operate system.
• Explanation of eyewear to be used.
• Barriers or shades to be used.
• Eye protection for patient.
• Proper laser safe endotracheal tubes and/or medical instruments.
• Appropriate evacuation systems,
• Reporting of defective equipment, which should be an existing policy not just for laser systems.

Medical Laser Safety Bulletins

Laser Disposal

Follow UW–Madison equipment disposition guidelines and receive written approval from property control for all lasers intended for disposal. The guidelines can be found as follows:

Equipment Disposition Guidelines 

The UW Property tag should be removed prior to disposal.

  • Complete Online Laser Disposal form. Once ORS receives the Laser Disposal form, we will contact you and work together to guide you through disposal process.
  • Lasers can be returned to the manufacturer or transferred/donated to another institution. The transfer/donation must be approved by the ORS.
  • Lasers can be listed for resale at UW-SWAP (Surplus with a Purpose) auction website. This should be done in coordination with ORS and SWAP. Lasers intended for disposal shall not be moved anywhere from the original location without ORS approval.
  • For disposal as Metal Scrap
    • Remove any hazardous materials contained in the laser system and properly dispose of them in accordance with appropriate federal, state and local guidelines.
    • Remove all means by which the laser can be electrically activated or make it inoperable (remove power cord and switches).
    • Receive a clearance sticker from ORS and contact Campus Waste and Recycling group for pick up.

Helpful Resources

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Laser Safety Eyewear Vendors

Laser Curtains, Barriers, Guards, Laser Safety Tools

Other Useful Websites

Cleaning and disinfecting laser eyewear during COVID-19

Laser eye protection should not be shared if feasible. If reissued safety eyewear to another user, they should be disinfected using the manufacturer’s recommendations on proper cleaning and care.

Some manufacturers suggest mild soap and warm water (not hot) water. Be sure that the soap is free of any abrasives (such as microbeads or grit). With clean hands, rinse the eyewear, and apply a small amount of soap with your fingertips. Do not use circular motions whilst cleaning as this may affect coatings. Dry with soft lint-free cloth by pressing gently against water droplets. Avoid rubbing as much as possible. This cloth should be kept somewhere where it will stay clean and should be washed weekly if possible, without fabric softener or dryer sheets. Any dust or dirt that accumulates in the cloth can damage the eyewear. Special care is needed for laser eyewear with coatings and most manufacturers provide special instructions for these.

Inspect eyewear regularly, especially after cleaning.
Be aware that laser system manufacturers often distribute eyewear as a third party. Be sure to follow the original manufacturer’s instructions.

Below we have links to manufacturer’s recommendations:

Suggest mild soap and warm (not hot) water.


Laser Vision
Cleaning and Disinfection of Eyewear

Care & Cleaning Instructions for Laser Glasses