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The main hazards associated with lasers come from electrical shock, light exposure and fume production.
Most lasers operate with high voltage discharge. There is a real risk of electric shock within the laser enclosure.
To ensure no accidental contact with high voltage, interlocks and shorting systems must be used.
- laser light poses a significant safety risk
- the majority of industrial lasers are 'Type 4', and the guidance is to avoid eye and skin exposure to direct and scattered radiation
- if any of this intense light beam enters the eye it may cause retinal burning or damage to the front of the eye
- complete enclosure of the laser beam is advised to protect personnel
- viewing screens with interlocked shutters are provided for operators
- contact with the skin by a high power laser beam can cause severe burns
- welding or cutting fume may present a hazard
- laser processing of plastics and polymeric materials is recognised as posing a specific hazard
- the use of high volumes of assist gases pose safety risks which must be addressed
- workers should be aware of the hazards of these processes; the means to avoid or control the risks should be used in all cases
- safety training and the adoption of safe working practices will help to minimise risk