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Faculty of Science

Faculty of Science Work Health & Safety - Lasers

This page is no longer updated. The information has been transferred to the Health and Safety Wiki:

Update: New laser safety standard promulgated December 2014, further details in red below.


Procedures and Guidelines

Laser Safety Procedures (28/5/12)

  1. Appendix I: Laser Registration Form
  2. Appendix II: Laser Operator License Form
  3. Appendix III: Laser Warning Signs & Labels
  4. Appendix IV: Good Practices For Laser Operators
  5. Appendix V: Summary of Engineering Control Measures for Lasers
  6. Appendix VI: Summary of Administrative & Procedural Controls for Lasers
  7. Appendix VII: Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Pro Forma. (This incorporates the University "Safe Working Procedure" form.)
  8. Appendix VIII: Guidelines for Preparing SOPs
  9. Appendix IX: Requirements for Lasers Built/Modified at Macquarie University
  10. Appendix X: Sample Calculations
  11. Appendix XI: Risk Assessment Form
  12. Appendix XII: Laser Laboratory Entry Requirements
  13. Appendix XIII: Laser Operator Eye Examination Form

Australian/New Zealand Standards

For information about these standards please contact Sophie Mazard  ext 9729. They can be accessed online at SAI Global from a computer in the University.

The following standards are now superceded:

  • AS/NZS 2211.1:2004 Safety of laser products - Equipment classification, requirements and user's guide (IEC 60825-1:2001, MOD) - replaced by AS/NZS IEC 60825.1:2011 and AS/NZS IEC 60825.14:2011.
  • AS NZS 2211.2:1997 Laser safety - Safety of optical fibre communication systems - replaced by AS/NZS IEC 60825.2:2011

For a summary of the 2011 changes see Modifications to the Australian Laser Safety Standards December 2011. The 2014 changes are primarily to the data tables and for medical lasers.

The SAI Global licence is single user, so if someone else is looking at standards you will get a "no licence available" message. In that case you just have to close the window and come back later. When you do get into the account search for "laser safety" or the standard number. If the above link doesn't work, alternative access is via the library at Macquarie University. Search for "SAI Global" in the "Databases" box.

Laser Classifications

There have been no significant changes to the classification scheme under the new standards, though some extended source or multipoint lasers may be subject to reclassification at a lower level.

The above are guidelines only. To arrange classification of a laser please see the Laser Safety Officer. Adhesive labels for labelling home-built or modified Class 3B or Class 4 lasers and their apertures are available from Gina Dunford.

Faculty of Science Registered Lasers

Laser Induction

Before beginning work with lasers in the Faculty new staff and students should:

In addition people who are planning to work with Class 3B or Class 4 lasers should:

The eye examination MUST be taken BEFORE accessing any laser laboratories.

Even if working with low power lasers, please inform the Laser Safety Officer so that the issue of keys can be approved.

Hosts of visiting scholars and students should ensure that the visitor's home institution has an adequate laser safety induction. An eye test is not needed before the visitor starts work, but a hazard assessment should be performed to ensure the visitor is aware of local safety features and procedures. Regular visitors do not need to redo the hazard assessment.

New Lasers

Before comissioning a new laser, the laboratory manager should ensure:

These forms should be taken to the Laser Safety Officer for Approval.

Some regulations may be relaxed for temporary installations, but additional procedural controls are then necessary and must be strictly enforced. Please discuss such situations with the Laser Safety Officer.

Laser Pointers

With regard to the possession and use of laser pointers, the following advice has been received from the University's legal department:

Please note that other jurisdictions may have different laws and prohibitions.

Note that the University's WH&S Policy now forbids the "possession, carriage or use of a prohibited weapon on campus" and this applies to over-powered laser pointers. A procedure is being developed to authorise exemptions for persons who need such a "prohibited weapon" for their work. Until then persons who qualify for an exemption under (b) should ensure that their documentation is in order and store their laser in a secure place when not involved in, or travelling to and from an astronomical demonstration.

Green laser pointers are the most likely to get you into trouble. Despite past warnings of potential hazards caused when the IR filter is omitted from the design, many low cost models on the market still do not have a filter and can be emitting dangerous levels of near infra-red radiation. For more information see the recent NIST report on this subject.

Recent experience has shown that Customs Officers are becoming much more careful about what lasers are allowed into the country. Even if you took your potentially illegal laser out of the country with you on the way to that conference, you stand a good chance of getting it confiscated on the way back in! (And if you try and get it back you may be threatened with legal action!!) If you REALLY need that high power hand-held GET A LICENCE.

Otherwise if you are in possession of a dubious laser pointer, you should hand it in to the police in accordance with s 28 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (NSW). has a wealth of information on the ins and outs of laser pointer safety

Further Information

Macquarie University Library holds the following books on Laser Safety:


For further laser safety information or clarification please contact your supervisor in the first instance, Dr Ben Norton on x9106 or Dr Susan Law on x8126.