Laser classifications

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.  

Laser classes 

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.  

Prohibited lasers 

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Older laser products may display superseded classifications based on the 1993 standard.  

Supporting information