Moderate and high-power lasers are potentially hazardous because they can seriously damage the retina of your eye, or even your skin. There is now a legal requirement to identify the risks and take appropriate actions to control and eliminate those risks both optical and non-optical.

Within the EU a directive was published in April 2006 under the title EU Directive 2006/25/EC (Ref 114): detailing the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to risks arising from artificial optical radiation [3]. This Directive covers all artificial sources of optical radiation within the work environment not just lasers.

In 2010, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Batt O’Keeffe transposed into Irish law the Directive 2006/25/EC with the regulation Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application)(Amendment)Regulations 2010 (Artificial Optical Radiation). These new regulations amended the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations of 2007 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007). The Regulations set out requirements relating to the control of the exposure of employees to artificial optical radiation at work, including Exposure Limit Values (ELVs), determination of exposure and assessment of risks, provisions aimed at avoiding or reducing exposure, employee information and training and health surveillance.