More than half a century after they were first developed, lasers have become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. You will equipment using lasers for something as large as the devices used by various industries to cut metal parts, to something as small as the handheld pointer used by teachers during class discussions.
However, despite them being ordinary, there are still certain dangers associated with these. Here, we take a quick look at some of these and learn how to avoid such dangers.
How Lasers Can Cause Injury
As you might have learned in your basic physics class, a laser is basically a concentrated beam of light. This concentrated light focuses all the energy into a single point, increasing its power. For instance, the beam from a 1-milliwat laser (typically found in small classroom pointers) can have the same radiance as the same cross-sectional area on the surface of the sun.
That power is not enough to do damage. However, when the beam enters your eyes, it gets further focused by the eye’s lens, concentrating its power more. As the retina of the eyes is a very sensitive part, prolonged exposure to the beam can lead to damage. While the damage might be slight in most cases, extreme ones can lead to blindness.
However, eye injury is not the only thing that you have to worry about when it comes to lasers. More powerful lasers, such as those found in industrial equipment or other specialized gear, can cause burns on the skin if pointed for a long period of time. Also, toy lasers that can pop a balloon or light a cigarette have the same effect. This is why intrinsically safe lasers have been developed in industries, which avoids injuries or accidents even in worst-case scenarios, Laser Tools Company explains.
Because of the dangers, follow these safety precautions when handling lasers:
- Before turning on the laser, make sure it is pointed away from people.
- Never look directly into the beam of a laser and never point it towards other people.
- When using high-powered laser devices, maintain a proper distance from it and wear the right eye protection.
- Avoid looking directly at the reflection from a laser.
- Never dismantle a laser device unless you are knowledgeable about what you are doing.
Lasers are one indispensable technology that we use daily. However, used wrongly, they could cause some nasty injuries. Follow all safety instructions when using lasers.