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Since their invention, lasers have been successfully employed in many applications, ranging from research—in fields such as chemistry, physics, archeology, and medicine—to industry. Lasers are both a practical tool and a potentially dangerous piece of equipment. As users have different educational and experiential backgrounds, common safety rules and regulations must be specified. Currently, safety guidance is provided by international committees (such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the International Electrotechnical Commission, and the American National Standard). According to the regulations, users should be trained before working with lasers in order to provide a safe environment. Safety regulations focus mainly on protection of the human eye and skin, which are the organs most vulnerable to laser exposure. To protect these organs, it is important to know maximum exposure levels and the class of laser being used. This chapter offers some insight into working with lasers, highlighting the biological aspects underlying injury risks for different parts of the human body, laser classification details, and basic rules for laser safety.
KeywordsLasers Laser safety Laser exposure Maximum permissible emission (MPE)
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