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What are the requirements for laser safety eyewear?


The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 clearly state that it is the job of the employer to determine, on the basis of a risk assessment, the wavelength(s) for which protection is required and the maximum levels of exposure that can occur. Protective eyewear should be worn by anyone having access to the output from Class 3B or Class 4 lasers, but the use of PPE should be a last resort; reasonably practicable engineering and administrative controls (such as full or local enclosure, erecting screens to limit the hazard area and restricting access to the area) should still be implemented to minimise the risk of eye exposure to hazardous levels of laser radiation.

Laser Safety Eyewear for sale in the UK must comply with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992. Eyewear type-tested to the European standard EN 207:1999 complies with these regulations. This standard defines scale numbers for the eyewear based on the maximum level of radiation for which protection against accidental exposure (only) is provided.

A table in the informative annex of EN207:1992 includes a user guide to selecting the appropriate scale number.

EN208:1999, specifies laser eyewear for alignment purposes and is suitable for aligning visible CW (continuous wave) laser beams. Such eyewear should attenuate the beam within the Class 2 limit. Not all eyewear manufacturers offer alignment eyewear. The reason appears to be the expense of type testing the eyewear to EN208:1999 for a relatively small market.

EN207:1999 Personal eye-protection - Filter and eye-protectors against laser radiation (laser eye-protectors).

EN208:1999 Personal eye-protection - Eye-protectors for adjustment work on lasers and laser systems (laser adjustment eye-protectors).

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