Laser Safety


Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser is a device that generates an intense beam of coherent monochromatic light (or other electromagnetic radiation) by stimulated emission of photons from excited atoms or molecules. Lasers are ranked into 4 classes, with Class 1 being the lowest hazard and Class 4 being the highest hazard and most dangerous. 

Your Responsibilites as a Laser User

  • You must complete Laser Safety Training by contacting the Laser Safety Officer .
  • You must be trained on the operation of your specific laser by your PI. A written record of this must exist.
  • You must maintain your laser area in accordance with the ANSI Standard and BU Laser Safety Manual. See the reference section to the right.
  • Inform the Laser Safety Officer in writing when you plan on purchasing or retiring a laser changing the configuration in a drastic way.
  • Make sure your laser is on the Laser Inventory by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

MPE Concept Explained

The Maximum Permissable Exposure Limit is a function of the wavelength, power, and exposure time for each user. The Laser Hazard Area, PPE Recommendation and Nominal Hazard Zone are all based on the lasers MPE. 

Contact the Laser Safety Officer at 607-777-2211 about MPE or use the free calculator provided by Kentek:


Laser Protective Eyewear

Laser Protective Eyewear is required when specified by the Laser Hazard Analysis. These special glasses differ from normal safety glasses in that they protect the eyes from specific wavelengths. The wavelengths and Optical Density at that wavelength must be etched permanently into the eyewear for it to be valid. The official eyewear recommendation must come from the LSO, but when shopping for eyewear you may use the reference below


Laser Hazard Analysis

We use EasyHaz by Kentek software to perform Laser hazard Analyses on campus. Information supplied in the Laser Inventory Record is used to perfom the LHA, so please be as accurate as possible when filling out the inventory record below. If you are not sure of a specific value or if it is a range, please input the range. 

Laser Inventory

Class 3b and above lasers must be inventoried and the inventory must be maintained by the LSO. Please fill out the form below to add your laser to the inventory record.

Laser Inventory Form

Laser Safety Training

All users of High Powered Lasers must take safety training once per year. Please fill out the form below to request your initial training.

Request Laser Safety Training


BU Laser Safety Program

ANSI Z.136 Standard (Full text available upon request)

OSHA Laser Hazards