Laser safety isn’t just for assembly line workers or industrial personnel.
Operating Room Laser Safety
It’s not just for military and scientific usage. Not just for medical technicians or dental assistants. It’s for all those people, and more. It’s for anyone who works with or near lasers, and that includes doctors, surgeons, assistants, residents, patients, anesthesiologists, observers, and anyone present in an operating room where class 3B or class 4 lasers are in use.Proper laser safety in the operating room involves several aspects. The ANSI Z136.3 guideline deals with the usage of lasers in the healthcare industry, and stipulates that laser usage in the operating room is permitted only when:
- Appropriate signage is in place
- Appropriate garments that adhere to laser skin protection guidelines are in use
- Appropriate laser safety eyewear, which corresponds to the laser radiation wavelength present, is in use
- Laser equipment is up to code, including the use of interlocks and automatic shutdown protocols
Additionally, a certified LSO (Laser Safety Officer) must be present when a laser is in use. The designated LSO can be a physician, circulating nurse, or biomed technician. Laser hazards in the operating room vary from the standard skin and retinal/corneal damage potential to the many fire hazard possibilities present due to the use of explosive gases and electrical machinery.Eye safety must be considered for all present patients and personnel. Wavelength-specific goggles or glasses that include side shields must be used, and protective eyewear must be worn by any surgeon or technician operating laser equipment that does not possess wavelength-specific scope filters.Phillips Safety carries several lines of laser protective equipment for the operating room. They stock laser safety goggles and glasses in polycarbonate or glass lens material and available in a wide range of frame styles and protective wavelength choices. Phillips stocks acrylic laser windows for use in enclosures, walls, glove boxes, and windows, with custom sizes manufactured on request, and magnetic and plastic laser warning signs that are available in Class 3A, 3B, 3R, and Class 4. Mobile or fixed laser barriers with double- or triple-reinforced seams are also available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and can be manufactured to specific, custom specs.