Laser standard updated

The IEC has just issued a revised edition of the world’s main standard for laser classification and safety.

This second edition of IEC 60825-1 replaces the first edition published in 1993. Essentially a technical revision, the main change involves removing light-emitting diodes from the scope, which is a significant change for manufacturers.

The IEC standard is used by the world’s laser manufacturing industry (both diode and non-diode), the worldwide market which, for 2007, is estimated to be $6 billion.

The standard conveys a variety of benefits, as its aim is to protect people from laser radiation in the wavelength range 180 nm to 1 mm by indicating safe working levels of laser radiation and by introducing a system of classification of lasers and laser products according to their degree of hazard.

It lays down requirements for both user and manufacturer to establish procedures and supply information so that proper precautions can be adopted. It ensures adequate warning to individuals of hazards associated with accessible radiation from laser products through signs, labels and instructions. It reduces the possibility of injury by minimizing unnecessary accessible radiation and gives improved control of the laser radiation hazards through protective features and provides safe usage of laser products by specifying user control measures.

It also protects people against other hazards resulting from the operation and use of laser products.

Lasers are used in a wide variety of applications, from printers, CD and DVD readers to surgical tools (the IEC standard does not address military applications).