Control Measures

A variety of measures are available to reduce the risk of exposure, these controls range from engineering controls to the choice of personal protective equipment. The focus of control centres on either managing the environment, or the personnel. It is important to consider these needs at the outset of designing the system to ensure the appropriate resources and infrastructures are available to support such measures. A general description of each measure will be discussed.

Engineering Controls: are features designed into a laser system and facility, which are used to reduce exposure either to the direct or indirect beam. These controls include: protective housings, enclosures, interlocks, beam stops, elimination of reflective surfaces, local exhaust ventilation, and access control.

Administrative Controls: include training, both theoretical and practical; employing risk evaluation tools such as safety audits and inspections; inventory analysis; emergency planning; signage; reporting and investigating accidents and incidents (including near misses); and ensuring appropriate authorization for laser access.

Procedural Controls: are a primary means of protecting individuals as well as demonstrating due diligence. These controls include standard operating practices (SOP's) for laser operations, maintenance, servicing, or emergency shut downs.

Personal Protective Equipment: may be required to protect against injuries associated with direct or indirect beam hazards. The characteristics of the laser and its application will determine the selection and necessity of eyewear, skin coverings, and in some cases respirators.

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