Laser Pointer Safety Tips

Laser Pen PosterIt is recognised that lasers can cause damage to the eyes, and they can indirectly be hazardous in many ways. These important safety tips will assist consumers be safe when using laser pointers.

Tip 1: Only buy a laser pointer if you have a legitimate use for it

Laser pointers are not toys. Don’t buy them for children. If you want to buy one, buy it from a reputable UK supplier. If you buy one over the internet, particularly from overseas, you may be buying a very dangerous laser product. The seller’s information or the label may be wrong. For example, if the information says “<1 mW burning laser” it is clearly not less than 1 mW.

Tip 2: Don’t Use Laser Pointers Without Labels

Imported lasers can be far more dangerous because they are higher-powered and they typically have no labels on them to indicate the wavelengths and wattage. If a label has been peeled off or a laser pointer never had one, the best decision is to dispose of the device to avoid any accidents. Laser pointers are electronic waste and can be recycled at many waste disposal sites.

Tip 3: Don’t Point Laser Beams at Faces or Eyes

Laser beams can damage the retina of the eye and the damage is permanent. The amount of damage will depend on how long the laser is shon into the eye, the power of the beam, and the distance from the laser pointer. However, even a low powered laser can cause temporary blind spots whether the eye is permanently damaged or not. In order for a beam to do permanent damage to the eyes, it has to be over about 10 mW. Most of the laser pointers assessed from internet purchases are dangerous for use by the public – many are hundreds or thousands of times the safe level.

Tip 4: Don’t Point Laser Beams at Aircraft

This may seem like an obvious thing not to do, but it happens both intentionally and accidentally. People have been prosecuted for shining laser beams into the eyes of pilots. To avoid prosecution, do not shine laser beams at aircraft.

Tip 5: Don’t Point Laser Beams at Vehicles

Because the beams from laser pointers can cause dazzle, distraction, and temporary blindness, as well as potentially causing permanent eye injuries, it is extremely dangerous to point the laser beam anywhere near vehicles. If the beam happens to catch a driver in the eye, the driver could lose the ability to see where he or she is going, or the driver could accidentally jerk the wheel to the side when he or she reflexively jumps from the beam.

Tip 6: Don’t Hold a Laser Beam on the Skin

Some of the laser pointers available on the internet can cause skin burns. Don’t shine the laser beam onto the skin.

Tip 7: Don’t Point Lasers at Animals for Any Reason

Some people like to play games with their animals by getting them to chase the laser beam. Only do this with a laser pointer with a power less than 1 mW or with a special pet entertainment laser. Do not shine the laser beam into the pet’s eyes. Bird and animal scarer lasers are available, but are usually expensive high-quality devices with large diameter laser beams. Do not use a laser pointer to scare animals or birds.

Tip 8: Don’t Give Laser Pointers to Children

Laser pointers are not toys and pose several threats to small children. First, they are are seen as a fun toy to play with and children do not understand the dangers that can be associated with them. It is very likely that a child will shine the laser beam into their own eyes or in someone else’s. Second, most pointers are small and can turn into a choking hazard, especially if taken apart into smaller pieces.

Older children may be trusted with lower powered laser pointers if they are mature enough to understand what they can and cannot be used for. Don’t encourage kids to do anything but point to objects with them.

About suffolktradingstandards
Suffolk Trading Standards is working towards creating and fair and safe trading environment. By creating empowered consumers, that are armed with the knowledge to stop 'rogue traders'.

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