Under the Radiation Safety Act 1975 all Class 3B and Class 4 lasers must be registered with the Radiological Council and users must be licensed or supervised. The Act also restricts the use of laser pointers.
Laser working rules are required to be posted in a prominent position in the laser area.
All new procedures involving class 3B or 4 laser equipment at UWA require the user to have completed a protocol application before starting work. Protocol forms are available from UWA Safety and Health or from the school radiation safety officer (SRSO).
The forms must be completed, signed by the applicant and signed by their supervisor before being sent to UWA Safety and Health for a final assessment. The application will be reviewed and if approved it is signed and issued with a protocol number. Copies of the approved protocol are sent to the applicant and the SRSO.
Any changes to an agreed protocol must be approved by UWA Safety and Health. Such changes may include the use of new equipment.
Download a blank Laser protocol form here:
A laser checklist for compliance of laser safety with the Radiation Safety Act is provided by Safety and Health.
Class 3B and Class 4 lasers must be inspected by Safety and Health when purchased and before beginning work
Laser pointers, while a useful training tool, can present a hazard to eyes. They have recently become relatively common and have unfortunately been misused on humans, resulting in permanent eye damage.
It is an offence under the WA Radiation Safety Act to manufacture, sell, possess or use a laser pointer with a classification exceeding Class 1 or Class 2 as defined in Australian/New Zealand Standard 2211.
Laser pointers are effective tools when used properly:
UWA Safety and Health can measure the power output of your laser pointer free of charge. If the power output exceeds the limits, a neutral density filter will be bonded to the aperture to bring the output down to the regulated limit.
All laser users are encouraged to attend the Laser Safety in Research Course. This course meets the requirements of the Radiation Safety Act for all licensed users of lasers (usually research group leaders) to attend an appropriate laser safety course and their supervised users to be appropriately trained.
The half-day course consists of lectures on basic laser physics, biological effects of laser radiations, hazards associated with laser use, classification of lasers, procedures for hazard control, engineering measures, legal requirements and administrative requirements. Also included is a 37 minute video entitled, Laser Safety in Higher Education. Assessment is an in-class open book test.
Ophthalmic examinations are not required before employment or as a routine surveillance of laser users. If laser exposure is suspected then a medical examination by a qualified specialist ophthalmologist should be carried out immediately.
All accidents and incidents involving lasers must be reported immediately to the Laser Safety Officer and investigated, and recommendations made and followed to prevent recurrence.