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Safety and Standards

This page provides the necessary procedures to follow in order to safely operate a laser. Learn the worldwide safety standards and installation precautions.


Laser Safety Standards

U.S.A. International organization
FDA (CDRH)
21 CFR Part 1040.10 and 1040.11
IEC 60825-1
"Safety of laser products"

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About IEC 60825-1

Description of IEC

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is an international organization that prepares and publishes standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies.

Description of laser safety standard

IEC established an international standard "IEC 60825-1" for laser products, which serves as a common safety standard for IEC member countries.

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About FDA (CDRH)

Description of FDA

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is a branch of the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services). The CDRH (Center for Device and Radiological Health), a division under the FDA, conducts administrative operations of radiological regulations. For production, sale and distribution of laser products in the U.S., manufacturers must comply with the requirements of these regulations.

Description of the laser safety standard

Title 21 "Radiological Health" of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) stipulates regulations on radiation (including lasers) as well as general rules.

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Laser Safety Measures * Safety measures based on IEC 60825 Series

General laser safety

Purpose

The purpose of laser safety standard is to prevent laser related injuries.
Safety protection against lasers can be attained when users correctly recognize the potential hazard of laser products and correctly perform a specific procedure using safety functions of laser products.

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Laser safety preventive measures

About laser safety preventive measures

People involved with laser products are manufacturers and users. Furthermore, users are classified into laser safety control personnel and operators.
An outline of safety measures required for individuals is as follows:

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Preventive measures for manufacturers:

  1. 1. Classification of laser products
  2. 2. Technical measures depending on the laser class
  3. 3. Offer necessary technical information

Preventive safety measures for users :

  1. 4. Establishment of preventive safety measures
  2. 5. Operator training
  3. 6. Implementation of preventive safety measures

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Laser Product Classifications

IEC 60825-1

Based on the laser safety requirements specified in IEC60825-1 and FDA(CDRH)21CFR Part 1040.10, these products are classified as Class 4/ Class IV Laser Product.

IEC standard
Laser class Class Definition
Class 1 Laser products that are safe during use, including long-term direct intrabeam viewing, even when exposure occurs while using optical viewing instruments (eye loupes or binoculars).
Class 1M Laser products that are safe, including long-term direct intrabeam viewing for the naked eye (unaided eye). Eye injury may occur when exposure occurs while using optical viewing instruments. The wavelength region for Class 1M lasers is restricted to between 302.5 nm and 4,000 nm.
Class 2 Laser products that emit visible radiation in the wavelength range from 400 nm to 700 nm that are safe for momentary exposures but can be hazardous for deliberate staring into the beam.
The use of optical instruments does not increase the risk of ocular injury.
Class 2M Laser products that emit visible laser beams and are safe for short time exposure only for the naked (unaided eye).
Eye injury may occur when exposure occurs while using optical viewing instruments.
Class 3R Laser products that are potentially hazardous but the risk of injury in most cases is relatively low. The risk of injury increases with exposure duration and exposure is hazardous for deliberate ocular exposure.
Class 3B Laser products that are normally hazardous when intrabeam ocular exposure occurs including accidental short time exposure. Viewing diffuse reflections is normally safe.
Class 4 Laser products for which intrabeam viewing and skin exposure is hazardous and for which the viewing of diffuse reflections may be hazardous. These lasers also often represent a fire hazard.
FDA standard
Laser class Class Definition
Class I Class I levels of laser radiation are not considered to be hazardous.
Class IIa Class IIa levels of laser radiation are not considered to be hazardous if viewed for any period of time less than or equal to 1x103 seconds but are considered to be a chronic viewing hazard for any period of time greater than 1x103 seconds.
Class II Class II levels of laser radiation are considered to be a chronic viewing hazard.
Class IIIa Class IIIa levels of laser radiation are considered to be, depending upon the irradiance, either an acute intrabeam viewing hazard or chronic viewing hazard, and an acute viewing hazard if viewed directly with optical instruments.
Class IIIb Class IIIb levels of laser radiation are considered to be an acute hazard to the skin and eyes from direct radiation.
Class IV Class IV levels of laser radiation are considered to be an acute hazard to the skin and eyes from direct and scattered radiation.

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Safety measures/equipment for laser markers*

These products have the following safety measures.

Key Control

The laser system main unit starts up by turning the key-operated power switch. Pull out the key when the laser system is not being used.

Key Control

Laser radiation emission warning

When the key-operated power switch is turned to [LASER ON], the unit enters a state in which the laser can oscillate, and the laser radiation emission indicator lights up.
A laser radiation emission indicator is located at the top of the marking unit and in front of the controller unit.

Laser radiation emission warning

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Laser shutter

Automatically closes the shutter located inside the marking unit to prevent laser beam emission.

Remote interlock (Emergency stop) input terminal

The remote interlock (emergency stop) input is redundant.
Opening either of the terminals stops laser emissions and stops all marking operations on the laser system.
Short-circuiting both of the terminals makes laser emissions possible.
The terminals are shorted with a metal bar at the time of factory shipment.


  • * For the ML-G9300 Series, control is performed by a single circuit, Pin 6.
    For the MD-V9900/MD-S9900/MD-F3000/MD-T1000 Series, terminal A14 is the emergency stop input A and terminal 12 is the emergency stop input B.

Manual reset

If one of the following states occurs, after removing the cause of the error, turn the key-operated power switch back to [POWER ON] or [OFF] once, and then turn it to [LASER ON] again to recover operations.

Occurrence Key-operated power switch operation
An error occurs Turn the key-operated power switch back to [POWER ON] once, and then set it to [LASER ON] again. Recovery can also be achieved by error release input (terminal block) or by pressing the [Release Error] button on "MARKING BUILDER 2" or on the console screen.
If the remote interlock (emergency stop) input terminal (A,B) is opened Short the A and B with a metal bar again, then set the key-operated power switch back to [OFF] once, and then turn it to [LASER ON] again.

* For MD-V9900/MD-S9900/MD-F3000/MD-T1000 Series, it is the emergency stop input (A,B).

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Warning Labels

Warning Labels

For other series, refer to the appropriate user’s manual.

* The following warning labels, explanatory labels, and the aperture labels are attached to the marking unit of The laser system

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User's Guide

Take safety measures for class 4 laser products.

Use of Remote interlock (Emergency stop) input terminal

Connect the remote interlock (emergency stop) input terminal (remote interlock connector) of the laser system to emergency stop switches or the like to prevent laser radiation in an emergency.

Key operated power switch (Key control)

To prevent operation of the laser system by unauthorized users, the key should be managed by the Laser Safety Officer.

Setting the warning indication sign and controlled area

Post a warning sign at the entrance to the area in which the laser product is installed in order to ensure that workers and outsiders are informed about the dangers.

Termination of beam path

Installation must be performed so that it reduces the possibility of unintentional laser radiation on any object including a marking target, a machine or part of a machine, for normal and foreseeable fault conditions.
To avoid eye or skin exposure to direct or scattered laser radiation under these conditions, the laser beam emitted by the laser system must be terminated at the end of its useful path by a diffusely reflecting material of appropriate reflectivity and thermal properties or by absorbers.

Protective Clothing

If skin is exposed to a laser beam reflected on a marking target in a control area where a laser product is installed, it will cause skin to burn, and clothes may catch fire. During laser operation, wear flame-resistant clothes and protect the skin as much as possible.

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Eye protection

In the controlled area in which the laser product is installed, wear protective eye goggles, regardless of whether normal use or maintenance, in case of accidental exposure to laser emission.

Protective goggles

Select protective goggles that are appropriate for the laser light wavelength.

  • - CO2 laser (wavelength: 10.6 μm, OD: 5-7)
    (ML-G9300/ML-Z9500 Series)
  • - YVO4 laser (wavelength: 1064 nm, OD: 5-7)
    (MD-V9900/MD-X1000 and 1500 Series)
  • - SHG laser (wavelength: 532 nm, OD: 4-7)
    (MD-T1000 Series)
  • - Fiber laser (wavelength: 1090 nm, OD: 6 or more*)
    * The laser emission warning can be confirmed.
    (MD-F3000, 3100, and 5100 Series)

Acrylic filter

Laser lights can be blocked by attaching the acrylic filter to the monitoring window on the equipment, the protective enclosure, or the observation window on the protective cover.


Recommended protective goggles

Note: Protective goggles are intended to protect eyes from scattered light. Never use protective goggles against exposure to direct or reflected light.

Local ventilation system

If poisonous gas is generated during laser marking on a target object, identify the substances produced by the gas and provide a local ventilation system.

Appointing a laser safety officer

Appoint a safety officer who has knowledge and experience in handling laser products in order to enforce safety management. The responsibilities of the Laser Safety Officer are as follows:
1. Suggesting prevention measures related to laser emission
2. Setting up the laser controlled area (area in which there is a risk of exposure to laser emission from the laser products)
3. Managing the key for the key-operated power switch
4. Checking the protective equipment and its use
5. Training for operators

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Installation example

The following example is for ML-Z9500 Series. For other series, refer to the appropriate user’s manual.

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Protective Enclosure

To prevent individuals in the vicinity of the laser marker or in the laser's controlled access location from being exposed to careless reflected light when the laser marker is operating, establish a protective enclosure around the laser marker's head using material having the appropriate reflectance and heat characteristic to block the reflected light.


Safety Precautions

Use of controls or adjustments or performance of procedures other than those specified herein may result in hazardous radiation exposure.
Follow the instructions mentioned in this manual. Otherwise, injury to the human body (eyes and skin) may result.

The following example is for ML-Z9500 Series. For other series, refer to the appropriate user’s manual.

1. Do not expose eye to laser radiation or diffuse reflection.

Exposing eye to laser radiation or diffuse reflection may cause blindness.

2. Do not expose skin to laser radiation or diffuse reflection.

Be careful that you do not insert a hand or other body part into the marking area during operation. Doing so may cause damage to skin, such as burns.

3. While the laser emission warning indicator lights, the area indicated on the right is the hazardous area to which the laser will be emitted.

If a part of body or an object catching fire enters this range, eyes or skin may be damaged or fire may be caused. Considering the hazardous characteristic of this range, make sure to cover with an enclosure which has appropriate reflectance and heat characteristic.

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4. When installing the head, terminate the laser beam path.

To avoid eye or skin exposure to direct or scattered laser radiation under these conditions, the laser beam emitted by the ML-Z9500 Series must be terminated at the end of its useful path by a diffusely reflecting material of appropriate reflectivity and thermal properties or by absorbers.

5. Wear protective eye goggles appropriate for the laser beam wavelength.

Wear the protective eye goggles whose optical density for the 10.6 μm wavelength is between 5 and 7. Do not wear the protective eye goggles with the optical density exceeding 7. Otherwise the laser radiation emission indicator may not be visible. Even when wearing protective eye goggles, avoid eye exposure to direct or scattered laser radiation.

6. Do not disassemble the ML-Z9500 Series.

Otherwise exposure to laser radiation and electric shock may result.
The ML-Z9500 Series is not under warranty and cannot be repaired if it has been disassembled.

7. Enclose the area to which the laser will be emitted with protective enclosure.

The protective enclosure shall have proper reflectance and thermal characteristics. Be sure to terminate the laser path to prevent the laser beam is emitted to the protective enclosure directly. Otherwise exposure to unintentional laser radiation due to laser beam penetration through the protective enclosure may result.
Install the ML-Z9500 series so that the path of the laser beam is not as the same height as that of human eye.

8. Be sure to turn off the MLZ9500 series before performing maintenance tasks such as cleaning the lens. Wear protective eye goggles during maintenance.

Otherwise exposure to unintentional laser radiation may result.

9. Do not use the ML-Z9500 Series near flammable materials.

Do not place any flammable objects or gas (organic solvents) near the laser emission opening of the ML-Z9500 Series.
This may cause a fire.

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10. Do not irradiate the laser beam onto mirrored metal materials.

The CO2 laser cannot mark metal materials.
Never attempt to mark highly reflective metal materials.

11. ZnSe (zinc selenium) is used for the lens and other optical parts.

ZnSe is treated as a poison by law. Rely on a company that handles industrial waste when disposing of the product.

12. Turn off all power before connecting the controller power cable.

Otherwise, it may cause an electric shock.

13. Eliminate dust or fumes occurring during marking using an appropriate dust/fume collector to prevent these particles from entering human body.

Depending on the marking target material, this may cause damage to human body.

14. Do not use the ML-Z9500 Series in any way other than that described in this manual.

Otherwise exposure to unintentional laser radiation may result.

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Laser Safety Terminology

This standard describes principal terms concerning laser products and safety when using laser products.

Diffuse reflection The change of the spatial distribution of a beam of radiation by scattering in many directions by a surface or medium.
Specular reflection The reflection from a surface that can be considered a beam, including reflections from mirrored surfaces.
Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance (NOHD) The distance from the output aperture at which the beam irradiance or radiant exposure equals the appropriate corneal maximum permissible exposure (MPE).
Since a laser beam has a divergent angle, the laser beam spot diameter becomes larger as the distance from the laser source becomes longer. As a result, the energy applied in a unit area is reduced.
Nominal Ocular Hazard Area The area within which the beam irradiance or radiant exposure exceeds the appropriate corneal maximum permissible exposure (MPE).
Maximum permissible exposure (MPE) The level of laser radiation to which, under normal circumstances, persons may be exposed without suffering adverse effects.
Accessible Emission Limit (AEL) The maximum accessible emission permitted within a particular laser class.

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Effects of a laser beam on the human body

Harmful effects

If a human body is exposed to a laser beam, denaturation of protein due to the heat effect, photochemical reactions in cell tissues or tissue destruction caused by impact waves (plasma flow and resulting pressure waves) may occur. The biological effects depend on the wavelength, output, and output waveform (continuous wave or pulse wave) of the laser beam, but in general, it is more likely to cause serious, irreversible damage to the eyes rather than to the skin. Besides the direct biological effects of a laser beam, attention should be paid to secondary problems caused by the release of harmful substances generated by a laser beam irradiating processing targets or other objects around the laser marker.

Eye problems

  • An argon laser, YAG laser or CO2 laser, which all radiate continuous or long pulse waves, cause the following problems due to the heat effect or photochemical reactions:
    • Laser beams whose wavelength is out of the range of perception (ultraviolet (200 to 400 nm) and near-infrared (1,400 to 106 nm)) are absorbed in the tissues of cornea or lenses, causing a cataract with corneal burns or visual degradation.
    • Laser beams whose wavelength is within the range of perception (visible (400 to 780 nm) and near-infrared (780 to 1,400 nm)) are focused on the retina because of the eye’s optical systems (cornea and lens) and the density becomes approximately 105 times greater. This causes the following problems.
  • I ) Laser beams that produce continuous waves are absorbed in the retina (center or vicinity) and mainly cause retinal burns due to the heat effect.
  • II ) Visual lasers with a wavelength of approximately 430 nm, which is absorbed in the visual pigments of retinal photoreceptors, mainly cause retinal problems due to photochemical reactions.
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  • YAG/YVO4 (Q-switch) lasers or CO2 lasers, which have a short pulse and high peak power, cause retinal burns or fundal hemorrhage, often resulting in severe visual degradation.
Eye absorption Wavelength range specified by the CIE (nm) Effects or problems caused to eyes
Range of perception

Inflammation caused by photochemical reactions or heat effect, producing severe pain of cornea or retina

Lens opacification (cataract) due to the heat effect

Retinal problems due to the photochemical reactions caused by visible light, or retinal damage caused by heat effect or impact waves

Corneal burns or a cataract due to the heat effect

* The CIE stands for the Commission Internationale Enluminure (International Commission on Illumination)

Skin problems

If a human body is excessively exposed to a high-power laser beam, changes from mild erythema, blister formation to carbonization occur.

* According to a notice issued by the CDRC on preventative measures against problems caused by a laser beam

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