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Laser safety in the research lab: Risk assessment and hazard awareness training

Laser Safety



An interactive and adaptive CD.

This interactive and adaptive video utilities innovative delivery methods to help train students working with lasers to improve their laser safety. Post graduates and research fellows work with many different types of lasers in a variety of different experimental conditions. As these lasers are often more powerful than those uses at the undergraduate level additional safety training is required. The interactive video comprises of:

1) Footage illustrating poor practice in the laser lab
2) Video clips, photographs and text outlining better practice
3) A Risk Assessment training tool

It was designed by experts from the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, Electronics and Computer Science, Civil Engineering, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, and the Health and Safety Office at the University of Southampton


Detailed Description

The Interactive video game is designed to cover basic laser safety issues such as administrative laser safety controls, engineering controls and the use of personal protective equipment. For example students are expected to:

  • Notice the absence of safety signs on doors and laser labelling.
  • Understand the dangers of using two lasers of different wavelengths in the same lab by different operators.
  • Understand the need to work with a Laser Safety Officer to mitigate the risks of working in the laboratory.
  • Understand that lasers and optics need to be firmly secured before and during laser operation.
  • Be aware of the lack of beam blocks/terminators to prevent the laser beam from exiting the work area.
  • Know that index cards should be used during beam alignment, and of the need for key controls on laser power supplies.
  • Understand the appropriate use of laser safety glasses and how to identify which glasses are appropriate for use amongst other safety issues.

Please note - the video was produced safely under controlled conditions using low-powered lasers. The video SHOULD NOT be used as a stand-alone training tool but as part of a comprehensive laser safety training package delivered by trained laser safety officers. We would always recommend that current Laser Safety guidance is sought from the appropiate requlatory bodies and that National Health and Safety and local policies and rules are adhered to when working with lasers in education.

The following UK educational laser safety information was used to inform the making of this product PD IEC TR 60825-14:2004 and Guidance on the Safe Use of Lasers in Education and Research - AURPO Guidance Note No. 7 (2006) Edition Prepared by Trevor Moseley, University of Sheffield and Gus Zabierek, University of Birmingham.

The team would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their advice in the making of the product; Laser Safety officers of the University of Southampton Neil Lloyd and Dr Hendrik Ulbrict (Physics and Astronomy). Dr James Gates (ORC). Dr Keith Wilcox (Physics and Astronomy), Dr John O'Hagan leader of the Health Protection Agency's Laser and Steve Walker of the Health and Safety Excutive Radiation team. (Although those experts and organisations do not necessarily endorse our product).

For further information/queries, please contact the following:

Technical enquiries: [email protected];

Other enquiries: [email protected]

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