Lasers and laser systems are categorized into classes. The classifications categorize lasers according to their ability to produce damage to those around them, from Class 1 (no hazard during normal use) to Class 4 (severe hazard for eyes and skin). The safety requirements are linked to the laser classification. Manufacturers and importers are required by law to classify and label lasers.
The laser’s output power, its wavelength(s), beam diameter, output optics, mode (continuous or pulsed), and the physical geometry of the beam are the most important characteristics in determining the degree of danger a laser presents.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Radiation Protection Service requires you to appoint a Laser Safety Officer if your business uses a Class 4 laser. Most cosmetic lasers fall into this category. A summary of laser classifications can be found here.
Specifically, Class 4 lasers can be described by the following elements of the ANSI Standards on laser safety:
- Most hazardous classification of laser.
- Most industrial, medical, cosmetic and research lasers fall into this category.
- Immediate injury to eye and skin if exposed to beam or reflection of beam from a shiny or matte surface.
- Depending on beam characteristics, fire from beam and reflected beam possible.
- Employer must appoint a LSO and many requirements must be fulfilled by the LSO.
Register for LSO training and upon successfully completing the program you will be provided with an LSO certificate.