Laser Process Safety

There are a number of safety issues associated with the use of lasers in materials processing applications.

Laser Process Safety


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

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