[Univ of Cambridge][Dept of Engineering]

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Safe Use of Lasers in the Engineering Department


The Engineering Department Laser Safety Officer (LSO)

Prof. Tim Wilkinson

Office: Rm 107, Div B Electrical Engineering Building (CAPE),

9 JJ Thomson Av, West Cambridge.

Email: tdw13@cam.ac.uk

CUED Telephone: (01223) 748353 Mobile: 07879 458561


It is very important for the safety of both laser users and those who are in the laboratory around laser based experiments, that laser safety policy is both understood and adhered to. Please note that this is a separate sub-task that must be undertaken aa part of the overall departmental risk assessment before starting any experiment involving a Class 3b or 4 lasers. You should complete the departmental risk assessment via the online system and upload the laser safety risk assessment and local rules as a PDF attachment. If these documents are not present on the departmental system, the risk assessment will be REJECTED. This is not an onerous task as long as the rules are followed in a safe and sensible manner.


As a new or current user of an experiment that contains either a class 3b or class 4 laser system, the Engineering Department requires that you undergo the following official laser user authorisation procedures.


University Laser Safety Guidance

The University Laser Safety policy is run by the Radiation Safety Office and covers both ionising and non-ionising (ie lasers, UV lamps, arc lamps and high bridghtness LEDs) sources of energy. The British Laser Safety Standards provide a suitable framework upon which to build a suitable laser safety policy. The University Health and Safety Division have produced a series of guidelines and helpful information on their website. This includes the Safe Use of Lasers (HSD013 rev 5) booklet [PDF, 791kB] . This booklet contains information for Departmental Laser Safety Officers (DLSOs), laser users and research supervisors. Contact the Departmental Laser Safety Officer for further information.

The Safe Use of Lasers guide provides basic essential information for working safely with lasers. For additional advice on laser safety please consult your Research Supervisor, the Departmental Laser Safety Officer (Tim Wilkinson) or the Assistant Radiation Protection Officer (University Health and Safety Division). Section A of the guide contains information especially relevant to users of Class 3B and 4 lasers, section B gives specific information which may be useful in various applications and section C contains appendices for additional information. Generally, as a minimum, Class 3B and 4 laser users should read section A in addition to local policy and procedure documents.


For any one using class 3b or class 4 laser(s), the following steps MUST be followed.

Local rules for laser installations or facilities in the Engineering Department

The procedure listed above is designed to assist in the process of setting up and risk assessing a new or existing laser based experiment or piece of equipment. Please note these rules apply to all of the satellite laboratories around the Cambridge area as well as the main Trumpington St site. This includes sites such as the Whittle labs, Electrical Engineering (CAPE), Graphene Centre, IfM and the Schofield labs.

The following rules apply to anyone who is setting up an system which uses or includes a Class 3b or Class 4 laser or a light source of equivalent power level (such as UV lamp or high brightness LED). If you are not sure what class your laser or light source is, then contact the departmental laser safety officer to discuss possible classifications. Even if you are using a laser classified lower than 3b, it is worth getting touch to discuss any possible risks or hazards.


Resource list

A list of useful resources of laser safety information such as paperwork, signage etc. Please contact the departmental laser safety officer or the Health and Safety Division if you have anything to add to this list and we will update it.


Relevant Forms


Further Information for Laser Safety Officers, Research Supervisors and Laser Users

  • Duties of Departmental Laser Safety Officer (draft appointment letter)
  • Laser Safety Matters - a newsletter on laser safety issues produced by the National Radiological Protection Board.
  • List of Departmental Laser Safety Officers


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    Please send comments & suggestions to tdw13@cam.ac.uk

    Last content change : Jan 22