The role of a laser safety officer is to provide guidelines for a safe work environment in accordance with section 4 of the Israel Occupational Safety Regulations, which stipulates that a workplace that operates a level R3 laser device in the invisible range (Class 3R) or more is required to appoint a laser safety officer.
Laser radiation can cause damage to the eyes, including the retina, cornea, and lens.
Injuries can be complex and extensive and include scarring, impaired focusing ability, obstruction of optical transfer, loss of vision, and damage to the optic nerve.
Another significant danger resulting from exposure to laser beams is skin damage.
Prolonged exposure to laser radiation, even at low intensity, can lead to the development of skin cancer. Obviously, the higher the laser power, the greater the risk.
Furthermore, laser beams can cause skin burns at varying degrees.
Apart from the fact that the law requires a laser safety officer, the importance of the officer for maintaining employee health and enhancing workplace safety may be crucial in a variety of scenarios that can, and must, be prevented in advance.
A Laser safety officer holds a degree in one of the following fields: electricity, electronics, natural sciences, or advanced degrees such as nuclear sciences and electro-optics. However, these degrees are not sufficient to work in this profession, and it is required to receive a unique certification obtained after a course in laser safety. In addition, a certificate that includes practical experience is also needed when it comes to laser systems on different levels.
The job of a laser safety officer is to provide employees with guidelines on how to maintain a safe work environment and conduct inspections that ensure that the work environment is indeed in compliance with regulations.
The job of the laser safety officer is also to guide the workers and make sure that the workplace holds the necessary protective equipment. The officer makes sure that the signage complies with the regulations. He performs environmental lab tests to ensure that the workplace is indeed safe. The officer conducts a risk survey, verifies and supervises compliance with the safety guidelines, and even defines the employees' protective equipment based on the work risks and exposure to the laser.
In addition, the officer consults the employer on laser safety and prepares a safety plan that contains all the information needed by the employer, including listing the workplace risk areas in an organized way.
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