Laser Safety Standards

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ANSI is an organization for which expert volunteers participate on committees to set industry consensus standards in various fields. ANSI has provided the basis for numerous existing federal standards as well as the more recent Suggested State Regulations for Lasers (SSRL). The ANSI-Z-136.1 (1986) standard provides requirements and recommendations for the safe use of lasers, with which the operating, maintenance and service personnel must be familiar.

The ANSI-Z-136.1 standard is "For the Safe Use of Lasers" and is available for voluntary adoption by users of equipment. Although the Z-136.1 Standard in not "a law" it has had direct impact on all laser standards worldwide.

Under the requirements of the Federal Laser Product Performance Standard: Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations; Part 1000; [parts: 1040.10 and 1040.11], the manufacturer is required to classify the laser as either a Class I, Class IM, Class II, Class IIM, Class IIIR, Class IIIB or Class IV laser product, certify by means of a label on the product, and submit an initial report demonstrating compliance with all requirements (performance features) of the standard. Lasers and laser systems received from manufacturers shall be classified and appropriately labeled by the manufacturer. However, the classification may change whenever the laser or laser system is modified to accomplish a given task.

It is the responsibility of the owner/operator of a laser to effect the classification designation in cases where the laser or laser system classification is not provided or where the class level has changed because of alterations to the laser or laser system.