Guidelines for Laser Operation and Safety Procedures

Guidelines for maintaining safe working conditions while using laser technology

As laser treatments to remove unwanted hair, pigmentation and other skin conditions become more popular, the number of laser treatment facilities are also growing. It is important that all owners and technicians of laser equipment operate under strict laser safety conditions to protect their clients, themselves and others.

In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates the importation of both lasers and IPLs when they are used for therapeutic purposes. Thus, it is very important that all safety and training procedures are strictly adhered to in Australian clinics to prevent injuries.

The primary hazard associated with laser hair removal technology is from inadvertent exposure to laser emissions. Exposure can occur directly or when the beam is reflected on a shiny surface. The following is necessary to protect various body parts:
• Eyes: Use protective eye wear with the appropriate optical density.
• Skin and Fire Hazards: Intense laser radiation can burn the skin and initiate fire in combustible materials. Lasers must only be operated by trained and knowledgeable technicians and doctors to avoid injury to clients. Facilities must also have appropriate extinguishers and other technology in place to deal with electrical and other fires. Staff should be trained regularly on fire safety precautions.

Creating a laser safety program:
Each clinic operating laser devices should maintain an adequate safety program. Each facility should have a designated laser safety officer (LSO) who is charged with the following tasks:
• Establishing laser treatment controlled areas
• Approving standard operating procedures
• Recommending and approving safety equipment
• Auditing the functionality of control measures to ensure correct operation
• Approving signs and labels
• Assuring adequate safety education and training are provided

The above is only a brief guide to laser safety and it is important that each clinic follow the appropriate regulations in their state, obtain necessary operating permits and licenses, and take any additional measures to prevent health hazards from occurring. Operators should also refer to manufacturer supplied user information and training manuals.

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