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Product Code: ILSC2007_701

Laser Non-Beam Hazards - An Overview
Authors:
Ben Edwards, Duke University; Chapel Hill NC USA
C. Eugene Moss, Corning Inc.; Corning NY USA
Presented at ILSC 2007

Non-beam hazards (NBH) are those hazards that result from factors other than direct human exposure to a laser beam. NBH can pose a significant safety and regulatory concern. While the focus of the laser safety community has been justifiably dominated by the identification and control of laser beam hazards, safety professional also have an obligation to similarly address NBH. High power laser beams can blind, damage skin, and ignite combustible material, but it is NBH (e.g. electrocution) that have accounted for the fatalities historically related to laser use. As laser technology continues to mature and expand into a growing variety of practical applications, many of today's workplace laser users lack the technical and scientific expertise that historically characterized the laboratory-based researchers who once dominated laser use. This changing demographic infers that most laser users today may not recognize or understand the NBH associated with their laser use, making the Laser Safety professional's diligence in this area all the more critical. This paper provides a general overview of NBH and identifies some emerging issues within the NBH arena. This paper also outlines topics about which further laser safety guidance is needed.

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