Skip to main content
Report an Issue

Clinical and Research Lasers

The Duke Laser Safety Policy Manual outlines this institution's laser safety requirements. The Principal Laser User (PLU) is directly responsible for the safe use of lasers under their control. New non-medical PLUs must meet with the Radiation Safety Officer to review the essential elements of the Duke Laser Safety program. Contact the Laser Safety Manager [(919)668-2315] for more information. Minimum Requirements for Class 3b or 4 lasers include:

  1. Laser Registration: unless your Class 3b or 4 laser already has a small "Duke Laser Safety" inventory card attached (usually near the laser’s serial number), it needs to be registered. Download and fill out a Laser Registration Form, then fax (919/668-2783) the completed form to the Laser Safety Manager.
  2. Training: All users, and non-using staff who will be present during open beam laser operation, must complete the appropriate laser safety training course. These courses are available in classroom format upon request, or in a Web-based format on the OESO Online Training Page. Access to the web version requires a valid Duke Unique ID number (it's the seven digit number on the back of your Duke Card ID badge). The "Laser Safety - Nonclinical Use" course on the training web site is intended for all non-medical laser users. A variety of customized health care Laser Safety courses are also posted. Ask your supervisor or contact the Laser Safety Manager if you’re not sure which laser safety course you should take.
  3. Pre-Operational Checklist: Prior to non-medical operation of Class 3b or 4 lasers, the responsible PLU must complete a Pre-Operational Checklist (download MS Word or PDF version). Forward the completed checklist to Radiation Safety (fax 668-2783) for review and approval PRIOR to operating such lasers outside a clinical setting.
  4. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): Users of Class 3b and Class 4 lasers must have a written SOP available on-site. Non-medical laser users can use the on-line Interactive Laser SOP Template for assistance in writing a site-specific SOP for your laser system, or use a WORD version of the SOP template. Medical laser users generally develop a shorter version for posting directly on the laser. Contact the Laser Safety Manager for assistance in developing a laser safety SOP.
  5. Entryway Controls: The PLU must make adequate provisions to ensure that anyone who enters the laser lab inadvertently is protected against accidental exposure to the laser beam. The best way to meet this requirement is to enclose the entire beam path with suitable material, thereby eliminating the beam hazard entirely. In those non-medical applications where such enclosures are not practical, engineering controls must be installed to protect personnel from inadvertent laser exposure. The Class 4 Laser Laboratory Design Guide provides conceptual guidance on entryway safety controls. However, the wide variety of research laser applications precludes a simple "one size fits all" approach to entryway controls. Instead, a custom solution should be developed in consultation with the Laser Safety Manager.

Additional Resources: