Laser Use

Effective: Moved to the Policy Library from the ISU Laser Safety Manual, October 27, 2008
Reviewed and Updated: March 2022
Contact: Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)


The Iowa State University Laser Use policy is based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z136 series, "Safe Use of Lasers" standards, in compliance with state and federal regulations. The Laser Use policy ensures that laser radiation does not exceed maximum permissible exposure limits and provides protection from collateral hazards. The Laser Use policy applies to Class 3B and Class 4 lasers and laser systems. Laser applications may include but are not limited to research, telecommunications, construction site work, outdoor laser use, or indoor and outdoor entertainment.

Policy Statement

All personnel (faculty, staff, and students) who operate lasers or laser systems at Iowa State University shall follow the procedures detailed in the ISU Laser Safety Manual. Successful completion of laser safety training and authorization by the Laser Safety Officer (LSO) are required prior to operating any Class 3B and Class 4 lasers or laser systems, including personally owned lasers operated on university property. Laser safety retraining is required every three years. All class 3B and Class 4 lasers shall be registered with Environmental Health and Safety. The LSO shall be notified of any newly installed Class 3B or Class 4 laser or laser system.

University personnel shall adhere to the requirements of ISU's Laser Safety Manual and Waste and Recycling Guidelines for the disposal of unwanted lasers, laser components or laser systems. The LSO shall be notified when any Class 3B or Class 4 laser or laser system is relocated, transferred, or removed from service.

University personnel operating lasers outside a laboratory shall meet additional operating requirements as specified in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard for Safe Use of Lasers Outdoors (ANSI Z136.6, latest revision).

All non Iowa State University personnel who operate a Class 3B or Class 4 laser or laser system on the Iowa State University campus shall operate in compliance with the ANSI Standard Z136 "Safe Use of Lasers" series. Environmental Health and Safety shall be notified prior to using any class 3B or Class 4 laser that is not registered with the department.