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.
All Class 3B and Class 4 research lasers should be registered with the ORS upon receiving them.
- To register a laser, please fill out the Laser Registration Form
Occupational Medicine provides laser operator eye exams and medical clearance required for UW–Madison faculty, staff and student to receive approval for 3B or 4 laser access from ORS.
Login to MyUHS for laser operator medical clearance:
- Submit one-time ‘Forms’: “Privacy Notice and Consent to Treat” and “Authorization for Release of Occupational Health Records” if incomplete
- Complete the ‘OM Laser Operator Questionnaire’
- See patient info for more detailed instructions
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
Cleaning and Disinfection of Eyewear