Workers in the construction industry use lasers for alignment, levelling, control and survey tasks.
If you’re a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you must look after the health and safety of all workers. You must give workers the information, training, instruction and supervision they need to safely work with lasers. When using laser equipment, workers must take reasonable care for their safety and the safety of others.
Always view the manufacturer’s instructions and safety warnings before using lasers in the workplace.
Class 1 and 1M lasers:
are safe under most conditions
1M can be hazardous if you view the beam directly with a magnifying device.
Class 1C lasers:
are used in the medical and cosmetic industries
are only applied when the device is in contact with target tissue, such as skin
Class 2 and 2M lasers:
emit visible light at higher levels than Class 1
2M lasers can be hazardous if you view the beam directly with a magnifying device or look at it for a long time.
Class 3R lasers:
produce visible and invisible light
have low risk for eye injury if exposure time is short
Have no risk for skin injury.
Class 3B lasers:
produce visible or invisible light that is hazardous
can cause immediate eye damage
can be powerful enough to cause skin burns.
Class 4 lasers:
are high power devices that can cause both eye and skin burns
may also be a fire hazard.
Using lasers in construction work
Classes 1, 1M, 1C, 2, 2M and 3R of lasers can be used for construction work.
You must not use laser classes 3B and 4 in construction work.
Changes to the Australian Standards for lasers
In both the 1993 and 2015 Australian Standards, the laser classes that are prohibited for use in construction work - classes 3B and 4 - remain the same.
The model WHS Regulations reference laser definitions from AS 2397:2015.
Older laser products may display superseded classifications based on the 1993 standard.
- The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has more information on the potential hazards and risks of working with lasers.
- The Australian Standard AS 2397:2015 – Safe use of lasers in the building and construction industry has specific information on using lasers in construction.