Laser Safety

The Laser Safety Program applies to individuals who operate or work in close proximity to Class 2, Class 3 or Class 4 lasers.

Follow the links provided below for more information on specific program areas.

Laser Safety Training

The Laser Safety Program applies to work with Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 laser sources.

What topics are covered in Laser Safety Training?

  • Fundamentals of laser operation
  • Beam related hazards
  • Biological effects of laser radiation on the eye and skin
  • Non-beam hazards (e.g. fire hazards, chemical exposure)
  • Classification of lasers and laser systems
  • Control measures and personal protective equipment.

Who should attend Laser Safety Training?

Individuals who work with, or in close proximity to Class 3b or Class 4 lasers receive additional Laser Safety Training for High-Powered Lasers upon request.

How do I schedule / sign up for Laser Safety Training?

Laser safety is included in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Safety Seminar series each fall.

General sessions are posted on the campus training management site -

Contact Steve Elwood at 609-258-6271 to schedule additional sessions.

Laser Laboratory Inspections

Who conducts laser laboratory surveys/visits?

  • EHS staff conduct periodic inspections of research laboratories at least annually.
  • The focus of inspections is targeted based on the techniques and equipment used in those areas.

What criteria is used to evaluate the laser laboratory?

  • Items specified in ANSI Z136.1-2007, for Safe Use of Lasers are reviewed including:
    • Warning signage ( PDF iconClass 4 Laser Sign.pdf)
    • Equipment labeling (e.g., class warning label, aperture, etc.)
    • Confirmation of training
    • Appropriate and adequate protective eyewear
    • Barriers and curtains present and fire-resistant
    • Non-beam hazards
      • High voltage
      • Compressed gas cylinders
      • Chemical exposure potential


Laser Registration

The Laser Registry applies to all research lasers of Class 2, Class 3, or Class 4.  EHS has created a web form to be used to collect information about existing research laser equipment.  Note- Laser pointers need not be included on inventory submittals.

Follow the link below to register your laser equipment with EHS.  All inventoried laser equipment is uploaded and accessible via the equipment module in SHIELD.

Laser Registry Form

Note: "Modified at Institution" applies to laser units that have been modified so that the hazard class has changed or have experienced any other pertinent changes from the original manufacturing that may change the hazards of the laser.

Purchasing - Laser Equipment

Laser equipment purchase requisitions are reviewed and approved by EHS. 

Departmental Purchasing Agent

To ensure timely review of laser equipment purchases be sure to observe the following.

  • Order using the Central Purchasing System - Princeton PRIME
    • Ensure the appropriate purchasing category is selected
      • Purchasing Category = '41115307'
      • Category Description = 'Lasers'
      • Click to view PRIME purchasing 'category tree'

EHS Review/Approval

EHS is notified via email upon department approval of laser requisitions.

  • EHS staff review the following prior to approving laser orders.
    • Confirm area of use
    • Confirm Principal Investigator
    • Verify the training status of laboratory research staff
    • Approve

Actions - Post Approval

Laser Safety Officer will request:

  • List of research staff proposed to use laser equipment
  • Building/Room proposed for use
  • Intended use of laser equipment
  • An appointment to conduct laser safety survey

Hazard Identification/Evaluation

What areas are candidates for laser hazard evaluation?

Class 3b and 4 lasers have the potential for presenting a wide range of hazards. EHS visits experimental/optics areas and focuses on the hazards of the particular laser(s) in use within the laboratory.

What is addressed during such an evaluation?

  • Brief review of general laser safety principals
  • Evaluation of the lasers in use
  • Laser laboratory inspection
  • Review of personal protective equipment
  • Calculation of maximum permissible exposure levels for eye and skin
  • Calcualtion of nominal hazard zone distences

In what areas should such an evaluation be conducted?

  • Highly recommended for all users of Class 3b and 4 lasers

Laser Safety Consultation

Contact EHS anytime you require laser safety consultation.  Reach out to EHS on any of the following topics.

  • Safe alignment
  • Engineering controls
  • Laser safety eyewear
    • Specification
    • Purchase
    • Review Effectiveness
  • Near-miss review/lessons learned
  • General, non-beam safety reviews

Medical Surveillance

Some individuals who operate or work in close proximity to particular Class 3B or Class 4 lasers or laser systems may receive a pre-assignment and a post-assignment eye examination performed by a consulting ophthalmologist.  Results of the examinations are maintained by the Employee Health in University Health Services at McCosh.  

Contact the Laser Safety Officer for more information.