The Revised ANSI Z136.3 Standard is Here!

ORLANDO, FL, Jan. 23, 2012 — In response to the extensive adoption of lasers for medical procedures, the Laser Institute of America announces a significantly updated guideline for the use of such devices beyond the highly regulated hospital environment.

The revised “ANSI Z136.3 Safe Use of Lasers in Health Care” publication defines the parameters of safe laser use in clinical, hospital, dentistry and veterinary facilities. The revision released this month includes new guidelines and information on:

• Wavelengths employed in medical environments.

• The duties of laser safety officers involved with rented or borrowed laser equipment.

• Audit requirements and procedures.

• Clinically relevant terminology.

The comprehensive ANSI Z136.3 standard, reformatted to appear more reader-friendly, addresses everything from laser systems hazard classification to protective equipment to non-beam hazards and room design. One of six ANSI Z136 laser safety standards in use, the revised ANSI Z136.3 standard serves to “acknowledge the diversity of laser therapy applications and practice setting locations,” according to Peter Baker, LIA’s executive director.

“The change is quite significant in that previous versions looked at the location in which a laser was used,” notes Barbara Sams, executive director of the Board of Laser Safety, an LIA affiliate. “This change, instead of looking to the specific location, is looking at the application being administered by people for any type of health-care related purpose.”

“In this revision, more consideration is given to the people using the laser,” she continues. “The patient comes first, of course. However, when a patient is being operated on, they could be under anesthesia, they should have the proper protection over their eyes; they’re protected. A greater focus has been placed on the people who are actually in the room using the laser — the surgeons, nurses, technicians, anesthesiologists, extending to veterinarians, laser hair removal facilities and even home use.”

The new standard “is a must-read for every LSO and facility providing laser-based therapy,” asserts Sue Terry, registered nurse and ANSI Z136.3 subcommittee member, in reviewing the new standard. “It’s a pleasure to see that sample forms and documentation records remain a part of the appendix. These examples have long proven to be beneficial when establishing or revising a laser safety program.”

LIA, the recognized industry leader in laser advocacy and safety education since 1968, serves as secretariat of the Z136 series of laser safety standards, administering the process and providing clerical support to the committee. To order the ANSI Z136.3 revision ($130 for LIA members, $150 for nonmembers), visit or call LIA at 1.800.34.LASER.

About the Author
Steven Glover is a proud member of the LIA staff. When he is not at work he is actively involved in several charitable efforts.
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