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Laser Safety Standards

There are a variety of laser safety standards including Federal and state regulations, and non-regulatory standards. The most important and most often quoted is the American National Standards Institute's Z136 series of laser safety standards. These standards are the foundation of laser safety programs in industry, medicine, research, and government. The ANSI Z136 series of laser safety standards are referenced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and many U.S. states as the basis of evaluating laser-related occupational safety issues.

ANSI Z136.1 Safe Use of Lasers, the parent document in the Z136 series, provides information on how to classify lasers for safety, laser safety calculations and measurements, laser hazard control measures, and recommendations for Laser Safety Officers and Laser Safety Committees in all types of laser facilities. It is designed to provide the laser user with the information needed to properly develop a comprehensive laser safety program.

For manufacturers of laser products, the standard of principal importance is the regulation of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates product performance. All laser products sold in the USA since August 1976 must be certified by the manufacturer as meeting certain product performance (safety) standards, and each laser must bear a label indicating compliance with the standard and denoting the laser hazard classification.

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