Laser Safety

CO2 lasers have safety systems in place to reduce the chance of death or injury. Most are built into a metal box with a polycarbonate viewing window, and have a safety switch to prevent the laser from firing when the lid is open. It is important that these systems are not bypassed and are tested regularly to insure proper operation.  

In theory, polycarbonate should block CO2 laser light, but you cannot be sure of the exact composition of the material, so I stongly believe in wearing laser safety glasses that are certified to block light from CO2 lasers. I also suggest removing people (and animals) from the room that are not wearing certified laser safety glasses. CO2 laser radiation is completely invisible and is being bounced around inside the laser cabinet, so the potential for extremely painful burns is always present. Your laser room should have warning signs clearly posted to alert visitors that lasers are in use and to wear laser certified eyewear. 

CO2 lasers are not a toy! Operating a laser without appropriate safeguards in place can cause life-threatening injury to operators and bystanders.