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Laser Safety Measurement

It probably wouldn’t surprise you that lasers, which can cut and weld metal sheets, have safety regulations.

Lasers are used for many different applications and come in a large variety of powers and parameters, so it wouldn’t be fair (or logical) to require the same sort of safety measures for industrial laser welders as laser pointers or barcode scanners.

That’s why if you look at any laser safety regulation, you will see that they first define various thresholds or levels. The revised version is something like this:

  • Class 1: Safe
  • Class 1M: Safe, unless using magnifying equipment
  • Class 2: Safe, as long as you blink normally
  • Class 2M: Safe, as long as you blink normally and don’t use magnifying equipment
  • Class 3R: Safe, if used carefully with some restrictions
  • Class 3B: Not safe, unless viewing a diffuse reflection
  • Class 4: Not safe

The regulatory standards describe particular instructions for how to measure your laser to determine which class it falls into. This is mainly based on power, but also could be a function of whether the beam is CW or pulsed, its wavelength, divergence, etc. You might also need to measure only power through an aperture to simulate the diameter of the eye’s pupil (3.5 mm during the day, 7 mm at night).

How to Measure Lasers for Safety Classification

You should always consult a laser safety professional to make or assist you with these measurements. That said, here are the tools of the trade that you may need, depending on what you are measuring:

If you’re not sure where to go or what to do, don’t despair! Contact one of our friendly laser measurement experts here.

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