Many businesses outsource their fabrication projects to a laser cutting company. This can be a wise move if they don’t have the proper equipment, financial resources or trained staff to do the job themselves. But if you’re ready to purchase a machine to bring your fiber laser cutting projects in house, here are four factors to keep in mind regarding safety.
Designate or Hire a Laser Safety Officer
When your business operates a fiber laser cutting machine, certain safety regulations must be in place. Lasers are classified one through four, which determine their level of risk for harm. Class I is safer than Class IV, which can cause serious damage.
A Laser Safety Officer (LSO) is an employee that is specialized in lasers and laser safety. Their job is to ensure that lasers are used and maintained safely by either performing a necessary task or ensuring it is performed by someone else. Though the assignment of an LSO is not typically required with a Class I or II laser, businesses should consider it, as even lower classified lasers can cause damage. In some cases, an employee may be designated as the LSO and must undergo proper training, whereas other companies may hire a professional LSO.
Fiber lasers can be purchased as open or closed machines. Since fiber lasers emit a potentially harmful beam, at certain classification levels they should be enclosed to prevent a safety hazard. If your fiber laser is closed within the machine already, you won’t need to worry about this. If the laser machine is open, you may need to purchase laser curtains to create an enclosure. Anyone’s eye could catch a wayward beam as they walk past. If they aren’t wearing proper eyewear, there could be serious consequences.
Protecting your eyes from the harsh ray of a laser beam and its reflection is crucial. Safety goggles are a smart choice for protecting your eyes, and some lasers even come with them. It’s best to confirm that the goggles are suitable for protection from that specific laser’s rays, and the necessary information should be etched on the goggle’s frame. In addition to protecting your eyes, it is also important to protect your skin, as lasers can burn skin too.
Fiber lasers give off gases. These gases and particulates can be harmful to the lungs, depending upon what is being cut. Many of us know to cover our eyes when using a laser, but it is also important to protect the air we’re breathing. There are certain materials that, when cut with a laser, produce noxious gases that can lead to serious health problems. One such example is PVC pipe, which releases chlorine gas when cut. Here is a full list of materials to never laser cut. Though not all materials release noxious gases, it’s important to have proper ventilation no matter your operation size.
If you’re looking to purchase a fiber laser cutting machine, Serra Laser is your source. We have 30 years of experience selling industrial lasers and can find the right machine to fit your needs. Contact us today.