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American National Standards Institute - Z136.9

Safe Use of Lasers in Manufacturing Environments

The procedures and methodologies described in this standard are intended to give specific practices for accomplishing laser safety in areas where lasers are used in manufacturing, including public and private industries, product development and testing settings.  Laser applications in the manufacturing environment include, but are not limited to, material processing, fabrication, laser alignment, leveling, inventory, metrology, and machine vision.

Normally only certified laser products should be employed in the manufacturing environment. Certification requires meeting applicable local, state or federal requirements, i.e., the US Food and Drug Administration, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 (21 CFR 1040) or the International standard IEC 60825-1. However, if a certified laser product is modified by the end-user, an additional evaluation will be required. Compliance with the Federal Laser Product Performance Standard may require those modifying a certified laser product to re-certify the product.

The step-by-step procedure for using this standard is as follows:

  1. Determine the appropriate class of the laser or laser system.

  2. Comply with the control measures specified for that class of laser or laser system, using Table 1.1 as a guide. This procedure will in most cases eliminate the need for measurement of laser radiation, quantitative analysis of hazard potential, or use of the Maximum Permissible Exposures (MPEs) as given in Section 8 and Table 5 of this standard.

Sections 8 and 9 should be consulted for quantitative evaluation of the hazard associated with a given laser or laser system. To use the ocular MPEs for the retinal hazard region, determine whether point sourceor extended sourceviewing conditions apply.

For the purposes of this standard, except for short-distance viewing of small diameter or focused Class 3Blasers, only Class 4lasers are capable of producing hazardous diffuse reflections; hence, calculations for viewing diffuse reflections are normally only necessary for Class 4 lasers.


The laser hazard classification system is based entirely on the laser radiation emission. Non-beam hazards must be dealt with separately and are addressed in Section 7.

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