Summary

Reviewing numerous laser accident conditions has shown that having laser eyewear is not the major problem. The major problem is having the laser personnel wear available eyewear. In any Class IV laser environment, the use of eye protection should be a procedural requirement. If laser protective eyewear has been deemed as mandatory for a given procedure, then laser eyewear must be on before the laser can be turned on.

The person who has specific laser safety responsibility of turning on the laser and making sure all the safety features are operational during the process must also be responsible for proper laser eye protection.

One positive aspect that comes from a frequent evaluation of a laser safety program is keeping the level of hazard awareness so high that the personnel wear protective eyewear automatically.

The guidelines given should be followed not only for your protection, but also to keep you from endangering others. Safe laser practice is mostly common sense - it is easy to be safe. Keep in mind that most laser accidents have not involved novices, but experienced workers. In part, this may be because experienced workers have had more time to make a mistake. Most likely, however, the problem is lack of caution. A beginning user is especially aware of the dangers involved and perhaps even a little intimidated. As time goes by, this initial caution is slowly forgotten. There is no reason to be intimidated, but your safety (and the safety of your co-workers) depends on your continued caution.

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