LS-2: Template for Laser Standard Operating Procedure


These guidelines are intended to aid PIs and individual laser users in preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for lasers and laser systems. The information should be used as a guide to allow you to develop a SOP that is specific to your laser system. The SOP should include all lasers in a given laser system including alignment and pumping lasers.

  1. Introduction

    1. Laser location

    2. Laser type, manufacturer, model, serial number, classification, and technical

      specifications (continuous (CW), pulsed, Q-switched, wavelength, power/energy,

      pulse length, repetition rate, beam diameter and divergence, etc.)

    3. Briefly describe the purpose of the operation.

  2. Hazards

    1. Identify and analyze the specific hazards associated with the laser operation

      1. Beam hazards

      2. Electrical

      3. Chemical

      4. LGAC

      5. Other non-beam hazards

  3. Hazard Controls

    1. Engineering Controls

    2. Administrative Controls

    3. Personal Protective Equipment

  4. Training Requirements

    1. Describe the training requirements for the laser users and incidental personnel.

    2. Laser or laser system specific training.

    3. Laser safety during operation.

    4. Maintenance and repair as necessary.

  5. Operating Procedures

    1. List the sequential events that describe the complete operation, including when to implement the hazard control measures. The procedures shall be written for the benefit of the laser user who must read and understand them to perform the operation safely.

      1. Equipment preparation

      2. Personal Protective Equipment preparation

      3. Step-by-step protocol on laser system operation

      4. Shutdown procedures

      5. Emergency shutdown procedures

  6. Alignment Procedures (See Appendix 2)

    1. List the steps used to perform beam alignment on the laser or laser system. Special attention should be given to control measures that can reduce the potential for exposure. Examples for control measures are shutting down the main laser and using an alignment laser, reducing the power/energy of the laser, use of beam dumps for the primary beam, etc.  NOTE: Most laser accidents from the beam occur during the alignment operation.

  7. Emergency Procedures

    1. Describe planned actions in case of an accident, injury, fire, or other emergency. Includenames andphonenumbersofthosethatmustbecontactedincaseofan emergency.

  8. Responsibility and Registration

    1. State the name, title, office location and phone number of the principal investigatorresponsiblefor ensuringthattheoperationiscarriedoutin accordance with the SOP.

    2. All laser systems must be registered with the LSO using the online registration form.

  9. Miscellaneous

    1. Rules for visitors

    2. Rules for building and facility workers as necessary

Safety Guidelines for Beam Alignment

Most laser accidents in research settings occur during the alignment process. If an alignment procedure is recommended or required, use the following as a guide for items that may need to be considered in your particular application.

  • Access. To avoid injuries, make sure that unauthorized people are not present and are not able to enter the lab at any time an alignment is being conducted.

  • Buddy System. When working with Class 4 lasers, be sure to use the buddy system.

  • Preparation. To reduce accidental reflections, watches and reflective jewelry should be taken off before alignment activities begin. To make alignment as quick and easy as possible, locate all equipment and materials needed prior to beginning the

  • Reduced Beam Power. During alignments, use a Class I or II laser when possible or use the laser at the lowest useful power. Avoid going to full power as much as possible during alignments.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Identify and use the correct PPE.

  • Beam Control. The individual who moves or places an optical component on an optical table is responsible for identifying and terminating each and every stray beam coming from that component. Close the laser shutter while conducting crude adjustments of optics or when entering the beam path. Make sure that the optics and beam blocks are secure prior to opening the shutter. Clearly mark beams that leave the horizontal plane. Have beam paths at a safe height, below eye level when standing or sitting and not at a level that temps one to bend down and look at the beam

  • Invisible Beams. Use viewing aids (IR cards and viewers) or fluorescent materials (colored pieces of paper or Polaroid sheets). Note that IR cards and Polaroid sheets may be specular reflectors. Avoid alignment using invisible lasers.

  • Pulsed Lasers. Align by firing pulses one at a time, if practical.

  • Intrabeam Viewing. Avoid intrabeam viewing. If intrabeam viewing is required, use a remote viewing camera.

  • Restoring Normal Controls. When alignment is complete, make sure that all beam blocks, barriers,interlocks,andenclosuresarereplacedandworking.