Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Laser Inspection, Laser Protective Eyewear and Laser Controlled Areas

This memorandum applies to any department where Class 3R, 3B or 4 lasers are used AND when those beams are exposed during routine operation, service, and maintenance. 

Action Required:

Departmental Laser Supervisors have been asked to:

1. Review their department’s laser protective eyewear, checking the following: 

1.1.  Laser protective eyewear is in an appropriate condition.

1.2.  There is appropriate storage to guard against damage or scratches.

1.3.  Laser protective eyewear is CE marked.

1.4.  There is evidence (emails, supplier recommendation, LaserBee calculation) of selection against BS EN 207 or BS EN 208.

2. Review their department’s laser controlled areas, checking the following: 

2.1.  Laser controlled areas contain an appropriate laser warning sign on the door.

2.2.  The access arrangements for laser controlled areas are robust.

2.3.  Laser key control is appropriate, e.g. keys are removed whenever lasers are left unattended and not in operation.

Background Information:

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) visited the University on the 25/26 April 2018.  The purpose of the visit was to inspect the University’s use of Class 3B and 4 lasers.  The Inspector identified material breaches of health and safety law, which resulted in two Improvement Notices and a Notification of Contravention. 

 The Improvement Notices related to:

  • Lack of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for an existing laser set-up.
  • Insufficient guarding around a laser set-up, so as to reduce the risk of exposure as far as reasonably practicable

The notification of contravention related to:

  • Inappropriate storage and cleaning of laser protective eyewear, as well as laser protective eyewear found with scratched lenses.
  • Laser hazard warning sign missing from a laser controlled area door and limited control over the access arrangements for non-laser users into the laboratory.

The Improvement Notices have been addressed. However, the other material breaches need a wider input from all laser using department. Departmental laser supervisors were invited to a post-HSE inspection meeting in June and were asked at that point to carry out a review of their laser protective eyewear and laser controlled areas.

This memo is to request that departmental laser supervisors complete this review by the 31 July 2018. Heads of departments should support their departmental laser supervisors by providing them with enough time and resources so they can complete this review by the end of July. If your department is unable to complete the review by that date, please notify the University Safety Office immediately.

Further information is available on the University Safety Office Laser Safety SharePoint Site:


18 July 2018

B Jenkins