If you’re reading this, you probably already know at least a little bit about laser safety glasses.
Requirements for Laser Safety Glasses
You may, for example, know that they protect the eyes from direct, reflected, or scattered laser light exposure; that they’re available in a number of styles and a multitude of filter types to protect against various laser wavelengths; that they’re designed to factor in optical density as a means of reducing laser beam intensity to a safe degree.
But what exactly are the requirements for laser safety glasses, the specific regulations to which they must adhere and the system by which those regulations are developed? If you’re still reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the acronym that answers these questions, even if you never knew what it stood for: ANSI.
ANSI, or American National Standards Institute, is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. These guidelines are universally agreed upon by manufacturers of products, goods, or services as the minimum standard they must meet in a competitive U.S. marketplace. ANSI standards set the baseline and the organization functions as a consumer watchdog group.
The ANSI guideline set specifically developed for laser safety is known as the Z136 series of standards. The Z136 breaks down as follows:ANSI Z136.1 – The foundation document outlining the safe use of lasers for all industries and organizations, be they military, scientific, medical, research, educational, or industrial.
- ANSI Z136.2 – Outlines the safe use of optical fiber communication systems that utilize laser diode and LED sources.
- ANSI Z136.3 – Outlines the safe use of lasers in health care.
- ANSI Z136.4 – Lays out the recommended practice for laser safety measurements for hazard evaluation.
- ANSI Z136.5 – Outlines the safe use of lasers in educational institutions.
- ANSI Z136.6 – Outlines the safe use of lasers in an outdoor environment.
- ANSI Z136.7 – Addresses the testing and labeling of laser protective equipment.
- ANSI Z136.8 – Outlines the safe use of lasers in research, development, or testing.
- ANSI Z136.9 – Outlines the safe use of lasers in manufacturing environments.
Taken as a whole, the ANSI Z136 standard determines the requirements for all laser safety equipment, including glasses and goggles.