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Thread: Trying to lay down the law

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Trying to lay down the law

    Can somebody link me to/explain what the law with in the UK actually says in relation to lasers. Helpful though everybodys safety advice is, what im after is what is actually writen down.

    Other information that would be helpful is to know things like what kind of power can be considered safe at what range, and how to quantify that. ( rough values call the closest point 20 meters)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    There's a difference between the law and what's eye safe. The Uk isn't that tightly regulated compared to some juristictions and it also seems that the legislation isn't in one place.

    If you're hoping that by standing back you'll make a beam safe, forget it. A high power static beam can be unsafe at huge distances and even from a moving scan can blind you damage eyesight faster than your eye can blink. What's more in the absence of total blindness, you might not even realise your sights been affected as the back of the eye has no pain receptors to inform when damaged. Laser damage to the back of the eye is permanent and usually takes the form of a burn on the retina or a hole burnt right through the back of the eye although some lasers (not usually show type) burn the front of the eye.

    The only way to safely audience scan (which is what I'm presuming you want to do) is by calculating MPE or better still buying an MPE meter (cost a lot) and testing each pattern in the recommended way.

    There are a lot of complications to eye safety such as the fact that exposure is cumulative both for individual effects and the show as a whole - the reason for this is because the laser heats the back of the eye and as you know if you warm anything it takes time for the heat to dissipate. If you keep heating something repeatedly, even if only for a very short period, then it simply gets hotter and hotter. Try passing a blow torch over a piece of metal repeatedly. Each pass might only be momentary but the metal will get hotter and hotter.

    Anyway, you wanted the relevant docs, here goes:

    If you're an employer, general duty under the Health and Safety at Work Regs 1974:

    Also from that page (relevant law / docs):
    1. Work Equipment. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992. Guidance on regulations L22 HSE Books 1992 ISBN 0 7176 04144.
    2. Management of Health and Safety at Work. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 Approved code of practice L21 HSE Books 1992 ISBN 0 7176 0412 8
    3. Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. Guidance on regulations L25 HSE Books 1992 ISBN 0 7176 0415 2
    4. Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 HMSO 1974 ISBN 0 1054 3774 3
    5. 5 Steps to risk assessment 1994 HSE Books IND(G)163L
    6. Safety of laser products. Part 1. Equipment classification, requirements and user's guide British Standard BS EN 60825-1:1994 ISBN 0 580 23532 7 Contact BSI for latest revision
    7. The radiation safety of display laser installations HS(G)95 HSE Books 1996 ISBN 0 7176 0691
    8. Lasers, Festival and Entertainment Lighting Code The Institution of Lighting Engineers 1995
    9. Safety of laser products. Part 3. Guidance for laser displays and shows. IEC 825 - 3 1995
    I'm not claiming this is deinfinitive, only what I'm aware of.

    British Standard BS EN 60825-1:1994 listed above contains show advice but costs 160 on its own last time I looked.

    There is a book listed here for only 10 that contains UK Health and safety Law / Advice on displays:

    For good non costly advice, albeit not law, look here:

    Some of this guide shows an MPE calculation method - now you know why software / meters are preferred!

    Laser Visuals have a very good (multiple page) guide to safety but its in the members section so you'll need to create a free account to view it.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Essex, UK

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