Lasers have become a prominent tool in many research areas at NIU. If improperly used or controlled, class 3b and 4 lasers (see Section 4.0: Laser Classification) can produce injuries (such as burns, blindness, or electrocution) to operators and other personnel, including uninitiated visitors, to laboratories and cause significant damage to property.
Individual users of these high-powered lasers must be adequately trained to ensure full understanding of the safety practices outlined in NIU's laser safety program and the State regulations.
When is Laser Safety Committee approval necessary and what regulations apply?
NIU established a Laser Safety Committee responsible for formulating policy related to the safe use of lasers. The Committee is also charged with monitoring the University’s compliance with regard to federal and state regulations for the safe use of laser radiation. The Laser Safety Officer (LSO) is responsible for ensuring that the policies and guidelines established by the Committee are implemented. The LSO is also responsible for informing the Committee of any compliance issues at the University.
All class 3b and class 4 lasers must be registered with ORCI. This may be accomplished by completing a Laser Registration Form.
Lasers are to be registered before being placed in service so the LSO can verify that the system is operating within University and State requirements for safe use. On behalf of the University, ORCIS must register each system with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) each calendar year. Therefore, when a laser system is taken out of service, ORCIS must be notified promptly.
Laser Safety Committee Membership
The Laser Safety Committee shall consist of members representing each department possessing laser equipment of Class 3 or higher. The chair and department representatives are appointed or removed by and the committee is directly responsible to, the Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships. The director of Environmental Health and Safety shall be an ex officio member and the laser safety officer shall be an ex officio nonvoting member of the committee. The length of terms of committee members is indefinite.
Laser Safety Committee Chair:
Mark Frank, Ph.D.
Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences