US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Laser Hazard Classes:

I, Ia: Considered non-hazardous. Hazard increases if viewed with optical aids including magnifiers, binoculars or telescopes.  Ex. Laser printers, DVD players.

II: Hazard increases when viewed directly for long periods of time or if viewed with optical aids. Low power. Emit above Class I levels but at a radiant power not above 1 milliwatt (mW). Ex. Bar code scanners.

IIIa: Depending on power and beam area can be momentarily hazardous when directly viewed with an  unaided eye. Risk of injury increases when viewed with optical aids. Intermediate power. Range from 1-5 mW. Limited controls recommended.  Ex. Laser pointers.

IIIb: Immediate skin hazard from direct beam and immediate eye hazard when viewed directly. Moderate power. Range from 5-500 mW. Specific controls recommended. Ex. Laser light show projectors, industrial or research lasers.

IV: Immediate skin hazard and eye hazard from exposure to either direct or reflected beam. May also present a fire hazard. High power. Greater than 500 mW. Significant controls required. Ex. Laser light show projectors, industrial or research lasers, medical device lasers.

Devices containing Class I, II and IIIa lasers shall be used in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. 

Prior to work involving Class IIIb and IV lasers, submit a work plan to the Environmental Health & Safety department for review by the Radiation Safety Officer. The work plan must include a description of the work, where it will be conducted, the type of laser to be used and its energy output, proof of qualification for any operators, safety precautions to be taken to protect personnel and property from exposure, and descriptions of barricades, signs, warnings, etc., to be used.

If applicable, also include proof of submittal for FAA Form 7140-1 (Notice of Proposed Outdoor Laser Operation), copies of variances and the most recent annual FDA report.

All laser products must comply with applicable FDA radiation safety performance standards. Only qualified and trained personnel may install, adjust and operate laser equipment. 


21 CFR 1040.10 and 1040.11, Performance Standards for Light Emitting Products (Laser Products and Specific Purpose Laser Products)

29 CFR 1926.54, Non-Ionizing Radiation

ANSI Z136.1 (2014) American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers

US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular 70-1B, Outdoor Laser Operations 

Suggested State Regulations for Control of Radiation, Section AA.1 Radiation Safety Requirements for Lasers