Laser Laboratory Design Considerations
Laser Safety Officer should determine which laser safety tools will be applied.
Laser Safety Officer should specify barriers based on:
- Nominal Hazard Zone (NHZ) per ANSI Z136
- Required damage threshold at perimeter of controlled area
Laser beams ideally point down, often point horizontal, should rarely point up.
Laser beams should not cross pedestrian paths unless a beam tube or other device encloses the beam.
Work stations/computer stations/desks in a laboratory environment should be counter height.
- Labs tend to use optical tables with laser experiments mounted on top.
- Eye level of a person at a workstation is usually about same height as laser experiment.
Minimize trip and electrical hazards – more injuries are caused by non-beam hazards of a laser environment.
Ventilation may also be a factor: some laser processes create hazardous fumes.
- Pathogens should not pass through extraction systems shared with other users.
- Dust and fumes may both become issues.
Management of gases may be a factor: some lasers use gas to generate the beam or to enhance a laser process.
- Floor drag for surface reflections
- Valances for ceiling reflections
- Entry ways; vestibule
- Work area separation (multiple lasers in one room)
INTERLOCKS / SECURITY
It may be necessary to prewire for interlocks, signs, keypads, other devices. Some installations use special electrical plugs and outlets to isolate and control the power to the laser source.
You should not be able to see a laser source if you take one step into a room.