A graduate student at Jefferson National Lab inspected the end of a laser fiber without realizing that the Class 4 laser (30 W) connected to the fiber was energized. Because the student was wearing goggles, there was no injury. However, the goggles showed visible damage, and without their protection, the student would have suffered a serious eye injury.
With summer here, we have a lot of students, new staff personnel and visitors, and we all need to put extra attention on safety. Here are some basic safety administrative controls that will help prevent similar incidents at the Lab:
- Always wear laser protective goggles when you are in the laser lab with open laser beams. The goggles are the last protection between you and the laser beam.
- Before you work with a fiber optic, make sure that the laser is not energized and light is not propagated through the fiber.
- Always use a fiber inspection scope when you inspect the end of a fiber. Never look into the end of a laser fiber, but rather, treat the optic fiber as if it is an active circuit.
- Report to your supervisor or activity lead any laser beam exposure or suspected exposure immediately.
- Check the contact list on the door placard and, if needed, update all the numbers for supervisors, activity leads, and safety personnel. The LSO phone number is listed on each laser warning sign.