Laser Classification and Laser Safety Eyewear Selection

Laser Classification and Laser Safety Eyewear Selection
Laser Classification and Laser Safety Eyewear Selection
Laser Classification
Laser Classifications referenced from ANSI Z136.1.; 2014. Safety precautions in addition to this
information can be found in the Laser Safety Manual “3. Laser Classification”.
Class 1
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Considered to be incapable of producing damaging radiation levels during operation
No Safety measure required and no damage to human eyes and skin
Previously as Class 2A under the Federal Laser Product Performance Standard (FLPPS)
Incorporated into consumer or office machine equipment – class 1 product
Visible and invisible
Class 1M
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Considered to be incapable of producing damaging radiation levels during normal
operation unless the beam is viewed with an optical instrument such as an eye-loupe
(diverging beam) or a telescope (collimated beam)
Exempt from any control measures other than to prevent potentially hazardous optically
aided viewing and is exempted from other forms of surveillance
Visible and invisible
Class 2
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Safe for accidental viewing
Produce radiation that could cause eye damage after direct, long term exposure
Hazardous only if viewer overcomes natural aversion response such as longer than 0.25
seconds
Visible
Maximum Continuous Wave (CW) limit is 1 milliwatt (mW)
Class 2M
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Safe for accidental viewing
Produce radiation that could cause eye damage after direct, long term exposure
Hazardous only if viewer overcomes natural aversion response such as longer than 0.25
seconds
Highly divergent or large diameter beam
Optically aided viewing exceeds Class 2 but lower than Class 3B
Visible
Class 3R (formerly 3A)
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Operates between 1 mW and 5 mW if visible or up to 5 times Class 1 in infrared (IR) and
Ultraviolet (UV) spectra region
“R” stands for Reduced Requirements
Replaces Class 3A from older standards
Potentially hazardous under direct and specular reflection viewing conditions, but is
normally not a diffuse reflection or fire hazards
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Class 3B
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Produce radiation powerful enough to injure human eye tissue with 1 short exposure to
the direct beam or exposure to its direct reflections off a shiny surface (specular
reflection)
Does not produce hazardous diffuse reflections under normal use
Not usually capable of causing serious skin injury
Operate between 5 mW and 500 mW
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Class 4
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Operates above 500 mW
Is hazard to the eye or skin from the direct beam and may also pose a diffuse reflection or
fire hazard
May also produce laser generated air contaminants (LGAC) and hazards plasma radiation
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Laser Safety Eyewear Selection
Laser safety eyewear selections referenced from Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory
(LBNL) Laser Reference Guide (2011)
Laser safety eyewear is one of the most important items for laser safety. The following
information is needed to select the appropriate laser safety eyewear. Contact the Radiation
Safety Officer (or Laser Safety Officer) if more information is needed.
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Wavelength(s)
Mode of operation (continuous wave or pulsed)
Maximum exposure duration (assume worst case scenario)
Maximum irradiance (W/cm2) or radiant exposure (J/cm2)
Maximum permissible exposure (MPE)
Optical density (OD)
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