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Laser Safety Officer

What is a Laser Safety Officer?

This role is a big responsibility but quite a rewarding one. Did you know too that if you're the only one in your facility using the laser it is automatically your job? Here we guide you as to what the role involves and have a free policy template for you to download and use in your workplace.

The AS/NZS Standards have a definition of a Laser Safety Officer, it is a person who is knowledgeable and competent in the assessment and control of laser hazards and has the responsibility and authority for oversight of the control of laser hazards. Is this you?

The Laser Safety Officer is also the passionate advocate for education and training. They are the person who organises initial and refresher laser safety courses and orientation and training on the site specific lasers.

For every facility a  Laser Safety Officer shall be appointed who is fully trained in laser operation, use and safety, where Class 3B and Class 4 lasers are used. This is a part of an overall risk management strategy and is an essential component of workplace health and safety.

Any laser incidents shall be reported as soon as possible to the Laser Safety Officer or their deputy. The following actions shall be taken once the patient/client is stabilised and safe:

  1. The procedure shall be discontinued, and the laser equipment isolated in a safe condition, with any key removed and given to the Laser Safety Officer.

  2. All persons in the room shall be evaluated for injury or for potential unintended laser exposure, and referred for appropriate medical management.

  3. No equipment shall be removed from the area unless such removal has been authorised by the Laser Safety Officer or their deputy.

  4. The incident shall be documented (with time and date stamped photographs, if possible), including details of all persons and equipment in the room, along with their locations at the time of the incident.

  5. Write a description of what happened in the room, including condition of the patient, instruments and devices in use, level of anaesthesia, and part of the body being treated, before assuming any other duties in the surgical suite, and submit the reports to the Laser Safety Officer.

Safety performance of laser equipment is assured by the Laser Safety Officer, through effective, regular servicing based on the manufacturer’s instructions, timely repair, staff education and training in proper care and handling, and periodic audit. Inspection and maintenance schedules are required to be developed, upheld and reported to the Laser Safety Officer. 

To download your free policy template click here.

Reference: AS/NZ 4173:2018 Safe use of lasers and light sources in health care. Standards Australia.

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