Overview

Lasers are commonly used in construction work for:

  • alignment
  • levelling
  • control
  • survey tasks 

There are some requirements under the model WHS Regulations for the safe use of laser equipment in the workplace. 

Under the model WHS Regulations, you must not use laser classes 3B and 4 (as defined in Australian Standard AS 2937:2015—Safe use of lasers in the building and construction industry) in construction work.

Laser classes that can be used for construction work are classes 1, 1M, 1C, 2, 2M and 3R. While class 3R lasers can be used for construction work, they should not be used in dimly lit work areas.

Class 1 and 1M

Class 1 and 1M lasers are considered safe under most conditions. Class 1M can be hazardous if the beam is viewed directly with a magnifying device. 

Class 1C

Class 1C lasers are used in medical and cosmetic applications. The laser is only applied when the device is in contact with target tissue, such as skin.

Class 2 and 2M

Class 2 and 2M lasers emit visible light at higher levels than Class 1. Class 2M lasers can be hazardous if the beam is viewed directly with a magnifying device or deliberately looked at for prolonged periods.

Class 3R

Class 3R lasers produce visible and invisible light. There is low risk for eye injury if exposure time is short. There is no risk for skin injury.

Class 3B

Class 3B lasers produce visible or invisible light that is hazardous and can cause immediate eye damage. Some can also be powerful enough to cause skin burns.

Class 4

Class 4 lasers are high power devices that can cause both eye and skin burns. The beam may also be a fire hazard. 

Previously, the model WHS Regulations referenced laser definitions from AS 2397:1993. In both the 1993 and 2015 standards, the laser classes that are prohibited for use in construction work—Classes 3B and 4—remain the same. Older laser products may display superseded classifications based on the 1993 standard. 

You should view the manufacturer’s instructions and safety warnings before using lasers in the workplace. 

For more information on lasers, see the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website. 

For more specific information on using lasers in construction, see the Australian Standard AS 2397:2015 -Safe use of lasers in the building and construction industry
 

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