Laser safety issues at application of PIV

The use of PIV involves some activities that present a range of hazards. These hazards and associated risks must be managed to ensure the safety of staff, visitors and the environment in the laboratory.

In particular, special care has to be taken, if lasers or high-power LEDs are used for illumination in the PIV set-up, which may lead e.g. to eye damage, fire, non-beam hazards (electrical) etc., if not properly used.

The measures which have to be taken depend on the light source used, the experimental set-up, the layout of the laboratory or the test facility etc. and no ‘one-fits-all’ solution can be presented.

For general information It is recommended to check books such as ‘Laser Safety in the Lab’ by K. Barat

The Stanford University makes available a very detailed Laser Safety Manual

This manual covers important topics such as

  •  Responsibilities
  •  Laser Classification
  •  Laser Acquisition, Transfer and Disposal
  •  Control Measures
  •  Protective Equipment (personal and facility)
  •  Warning Signs and Equipment Labels
  •  Training
  •  Non-Beam Hazards (Electric Hazards)

Special attention should be paid by the operator of a PIV system to section 11.4. Laser Alignment Guidelines

General information about laser hazards is provided United States Department of Labor

and in particular in the OSHA Technical Section III Chapter 6

The viewgraphs on Laser Safety by J-P Ganière; EPFL Lausanne,

present the main issues of laser safety, illustrated by many drawings and pictures, in 80 viewgraphs. Viewgraphs 58 and 59 provide a list of ‘golden rules of laser safety’ for operator of laser systems.

A similar presentation, focused to the application of PIV in the laboratory and in the wind tunnel, is available for download at:

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In order to avoid any hazards, each PIV laboratory must strictly  follow any technical and legal requirements related to laser safety, in particular must have readily available all required technical and legal documents for information of its personnel, display the most important information in the laboratory or test facility, and train its personnel in regular intervals.

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 Contents provided by Christian Kähler and Jürgen Kompenhans, 20171012