Online ISSN : 1884-7269
Print ISSN : 0898-5901
ISSN-L : 0898-5901
Laser Safety Article
Keys to Building a Safe and Effective Healthcare Laser Program
Penny J. Smalley
Author information

2018 Volume 27 Issue 1 Pages 11-20


Laser safety is much more than wearing safety goggles, and posting a sign on the treatment room door. Compliance audits from facilities in a number of different countries, have revealed misconceptions, lack of education and training, areas of non-compliance with standards, and potentially unsafe practices that could result in staff and patient injuries. Far too often, laser safety is underappreciated and poorly implemented.
A laser is as safe or as hazardous as the user. The knowledge and skill of the user and members of the surgical team, and the level of administrative support allocated to laser program management, will determine how well and safely a clinical practice operates. Healthcare lasers have the same risks and hazards, regardless of where they are used. Therefore, standards and guidelines for safety should be the same for all practice settings, including hospitals, clinics, or private office facilities.
Of all hazards, complacency is the most dangerous. Too often, what begins as a commitment to safety fades over time. The best way to combat apathy, and maintain a level of compliance and attention to safe practice, is to establish a laser program on a foundation of risk management principles and evidence based standards.
Proper safety management requires a fourfold approach including: initial and ongoing education and training, identification of hazards and risks, consistent use of appropriate control measures, and sustainable program audit and management.

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© 2018 Japan Medical Laser Laboratory
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