LIA releases revised ANSI Z136.1 standard

February 18, 2014

Updated for the first time in the last seven years, the new American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers is available through the Laser Institute of America, secretariat of the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z136, which develops the laser safety standards.

The ANSI Z136.1 standard guides the safe use of lasers and laser systems by defining control measures for the seven laser hazard classifications.

“There have been extensive changes to the ANSI Z136.1 standard, with a focus on increasing usability,” explained Ben Rockwell, chairman of ASC Z136 Standards Subcommittee 1. “Significant increases in the MPE in the near-infrared will enable a plethora of new laser applications. Several sections were rewritten to reorganize, update, and improve technical content to allow for easier access to information necessary for everyday laser safety implementation.”

The new revision, like past standards, covers intrabeam viewing and viewing of diffuse reflections and extended sources, considering photochemical, thermal, and skin hazards. Highlights include:

  • Nineteen new definitions of key terms.
  • A significant increase in allowed exposure levels for wavelengths between 1.2 µm and 1.4 µm, and a slight decrease in exposure limits for pulses shorter than approximately 10 µs.
  • An updated section on “special qualifications” for medical-related exposures to include MPEs expressed in terms of illuminance.
  • A rearranged Section 4 and rewritten Section 7.

The revised standard is available for a fee at

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