Laser Safety


The Boston University Laser Safety SubCommittee (LSS) is responsible for the establishment, and continuing review, of an effective and encompassing laser safety program at both the Charles River Campus as well and the Medical Campus. In addition, the LSS oversees all compliance items with regard to laser safety regulations promulgated by state, federal, and local agencies: 105 CMR 121.000. Additionally, all Class 3b and 4 lasers must be approved by the LSO prior to purchase or transfer/ receipt to ensure proper registration and hazard assessments are performed.

Lasers are commonly found in both the research and medical communities with a broad scope of uses and users resulting in many levels of possible hazards. The goal of the Laser Safety Office at Boston University and Boston Medical Center is to educate, identify, and mitigate the hazards associated with laser use. Lasers (and laser systems) are explicitly defined by ANSI Z136.1-2007, “American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers” based solely on the beam hazard associated with the laser output energy and wavelengths.  The laser classification is required (except Class I) to be detailed on the laser hazard label. These labels should never be removed or defaced and should be permanently affixed to a region of the laser housing or control panel that is visible during operation. Some laser systems may be classified by a lower hazard class then defined by the laser output energy and wavelength by means of engineering controls during routine usage. Only the manufacturer or LSO may make this hazard evaluation and when these engineering controls are defeated the ANSI hazard class may increase. In addition to the ANSI hazard class, all lasers and laser systems may poses serious non-beam hazards that are not explicitly defined. Since unidentified, these hazards are often the most dangerous and must be evaluated with the assistance of the LSO.

The Laser Safety Officer can advise and assist individuals to ensure regulatory compliance as well as to complete permitting, training, and registration requirements. Additionally, individuals can refer to the BU_BMC-Laser-Safety-Manual for laser use and safety guidance.

Please contact Laser Safety if you would like to use lasers in your research at Boston University.