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Clinical and Research Lasers

Laser Safety Program Information

Advances in research and medical treatment have been made possible due to the power and versatility of lasers. With these advances also comes the potential for significant injury from lasers. To use lasers at Duke for research and clinical purposes, each laser user shall adhere to the terms of the Duke Laser Safety Policy*. The policy details requirements to ensure a safe environment for laser users in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards Z136.1 (for safe use of lasers) and Z136.3 (for safe use of lasers in Health Care).

Medical Lasers

Clinical laser use shall only be performed by a physician with laser privileges at Duke University Medical Center. For more information, prospective clinical laser users should contact the official responsible for the credentialing process in their departments. 
Physicians and perioperative staff are required to periodically review the department-specific laser safety information on OESO’s Safety Training web site. Good practices include proper laser warning signage on entryways, the use of laser protective eyewear by all staff during procedures, minimization of reflective surfaces in the operative suite and awareness of ancillary hazards such as fire in oxygen-rich environments.

Non-Clinical Lasers

All non-clinical class 3B and 4 lasers used for basic research must be registered with the OESO Radiation Safety Division. Laser activities shall be performed under the Laser Laboratory Authorization (LLA) of an approved Principal Laser User (PLU). Safety protocols for proposed laser activities must be approved prior to laser use. The PLU is directly responsible for the planning and implementation of all safety measures required for safe operation for all lasers under their LLA and to ensure that all persons operating lasers systems have completed laser safety training.

Obtaining a Laser Laboratory Authorization
  1. Submit the Application for Laser Authorization Form*
    • To register class 3b and 4 lasers, complete and submit the Laser Registration Form*.
    • A “Site Specific Laser SOP Template” is available for assistance in writing your Standard Operating Procedures.
    • The “Laser Safety for Non-Clinical Use” training module is available via the OESO training platform. All laser operators must complete initial training and refresher training every two years thereafter.

      The LLA will be held by OESO Radiation Safety until all items in the Class 3b & 4 Laser Lab Pre-Operational Checklist* are complete. Entryway controls should be developed in consultation with the Laser Safety Manager.
  2. Review the essentials of the Duke Laser Safety Program with Radiation Safety Division staff.
Termination of a Laser Laboratory Authorization
  1. Notify OESO Radiation Safety of intention to terminate authorization.
  2. Dispose all lasers by one of the following methods, and notify OESO Radiation Safety when disposal is complete:
    • Contact the manufacturer and see if there is a recycle program for the laser. If not, ask about disposal recommendations and hazards.
    • Transferring to another Duke PLU. Complete and submit the Laser Transfer Form*.
    • Rendering the laser inoperable before discarding or recycling parts.
    • Transferring to a non-Duke entity.

* All policies and forms are available on the Duke OESO web site. Contact the OESO Radiation Safety Division for more information.