Laser cutting is a dangerous process. The high temperatures and electrical voltages involved mean that staff must be well trained and aware of the dangers posed by this equipment.

Working with lasers is no easy task, and employees must be well-trained in order to operate them. Every workplace that includes the use of lasers should have laser risk management documentation in place, which should be part of its health and safety reading material and which all employees should be aware of.  Some points to be aware of are:

Burns to the skin and eye damage

Laser lights pose significant risk to sight. Care must be taken to ensure that none of the light enters the user’s, or any bystanders’, eyes. If the laser beam does enter the eye it can cause retinal damage.  To avoid this, the machine should have a guard fitted. It should always be engaged during use. Regular maintenance should be performed to make sure the guard is up to task.  It is worth keeping in mind that some frequencies of laser beam may be invisible to the naked eye.  Proper safety equipment should always be worn when operating the machinery to protect against burns.

Electrical failure and shock

Laser cutting equipment requires very high voltages. There is a danger of electrical shock if the laser casing is broken or the interior workings are exposed in any way. To minimise risk, the casing should be inspected regularly and any damaged components should be fixed immediately.

There are huge health and safety issues at work here, so you must keep your employees and your workplace safe by monitoring your equipment at all times.

Fume inhalation

When metal is cut, noxious gases are given off. These gases can be especially hazardous to the health of the user and bystanders.
To minimise risk, the work area should be well ventilated and safety masks should be provided and worn at all times. Cutting speeds should be set correctly so the machine isn’t producing an excessive amount of fumes.

As you can see, there are lots of things that you need to do to keep your workplace safe, and your employees safe from harm. To ensure you protect your staff, make the most of this information. 

This piece was written by Mark Enright, a writer for Laser Process,  experts in laser cutting services.