Laser Safety

A laser is defined as any Class 3B or Class 4 laser system or high intensity light source. The purpose of the laser safety program is to ensure that all Class 3B or Class 4 lasers are purchased, used, stored and disposed of properly.

Each Class 3B or Class 4 laser system must be registered with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Brown University personnel wishing to own a laser system should fill out a Laser Use Registration, and submit it for review to the university Radiation Safety Officer prior to use.

To learn more about non-ionizing radiation, click the 'Compliance' and 'Resources’ tabs to the left.

Laser Safety Manual

Brown University’s Laser Safety Manual describes the requirements for the use of Class 3B and Class 4 lasers. 

Laboratory supervisors who own or use a laser or laser system at Brown University are responsible for ensuring that standard operating procedures (SOP) are provided to all Class 4 laser operators or laser users.  A Class 4 laser has the potential for output >500 milliwatt (mW) (continuous wave) or >125 millijoule (mJ) in <0.25 second (pulsed).  All class 3B laser operators/users should also be provided with laser SOP by the laboratory supervisor.  A Class 3B laser has output 5-500 mW (continuous wave) or <125 mJ in <0.25 second (pulsed).   The manufacturer’s operating manual should be consulted as part of the SOP.  Typically, the operating manual does not provide enough protocol information for a complete SOP.

As recommended by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Brown University Laser Safety Manual follows the voluntary consensus American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z136.1 – 2014.  A copy of the ANSI Standard is available for review at EHS, 118 Waterman Street, Providence.

Laser Pointers

For information on laser pointer safety, see the document Guidelines for Laser Pointers.

Radiation Safety Committee

The Brown University Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) serves as the official governing body for faculty, staff and students on all matters relating to the use of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in research and teaching.  The RSC is responsible for overseeing research and teaching authorizations to ensure conformity with the American National Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers.