BLS News & Review
Volume 3, Number 2
In This Issue
– Executive Director’s Message
Board of Laser Safety
The Value of Becoming Certified
From the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, as a verb certified means “to confirm as true, accurate, or genuine; to guarantee as meeting a standard.” As an adjective, it is “endorsed authoritatively as having met certain requirements”; and “holding appropriate documentation and officially on record as qualified to perform a specified function or practice a specified skill.” (WordNet® 3.0)
Note I’ve left off “to declare to be in need of psychiatric treatment or confinement.” That’s another message altogether, LOL
Seriously, certification involves a process that evaluates one’s level of expertise in a specialty area, in our case laser safety, and validates one’s level of competency. BLS certification demonstrates that individuals serving in the field of laser safety have agreed to adhere to higher standards of safety and professional practice than those who have not achieved this recognition.
Now then, I am preaching to the choir. The question is, especially in today’s troubled economic times, how to impress upon employers the value of certification. In addition to the obvious, increased safety and increased competence level of employees, certification can increase confidence in the employee’s abilities (for employee, staff and clientele), demonstrate the employer’s commitment to competence, and provide compliance with industry regulations and/or government requirements.
It would seem to me that now is the time to acknowledge the value of certification and to wear your designation proudly. If you have suggestions how to further promote certification, please feel free to contact me anytime at email@example.com or by phone, 407-380-5833.
The 2009 International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC) was held in March in Reno, NV. Presented by the Laser Institute of America (LIA), it was the place to be for new and experienced laser safety professionals working with or in a laser environment. Held at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Resort, the venue provided a comfortable conference location with a variety of restaurants, and the additional attraction of gambling in the Casino. Well attended from manufacturing, government, military, medical, and educational institutions throughout the world, ILSC reached new levels of attendance with 15 countries represented by 225 attendees. Approximately 30% were first timers coming together to network and exchange laser safety ideas, knowledge, practices, research, and the discovery of emerging products and their uses.
Greg Makhov of Lighting Systems Design, Inc. launched the plenary session with an exciting laser light show, and opening remarks were delivered by LIA Executive Director Peter Baker and ILSC Conference General Chair, Benjamin Rockwell. Cynthia Toth from Duke University presented the newest techniques using lasers in ophthalmology and Van Nakagawara presented data on the increase of sales in green laser pointers and the correlation to the seemingly intentional illumination of commercial airplanes. Interesting to all was Australia’s policy changes and the ban on imports of high power laser pointers.
ILSC Technical Sessions, chaired by Ben Edwards, covered topics in outdoor lasers, bioeffects, safety standards, measurements, laser eye protection, medical laser safety, laser safety training, high power laser issues, practical laser safety, unique applications of laser safety, safety considerations (non-beam hazards and fume extraction), hazard and risk assessment, and control and protective measures. Every session and speaker offered information to peak interest and challenge the audience to ask questions, resulting in a few lively debates which continued outside the sessions.
The Practical Applications Seminar (PAS) with Jay Parkinson as seminar chair had its second year running in conjunction with the technical sessions. Frequent movement between the technical sessions and PAS by attendees occurred as attendees attempted to extract the most information out of the combined sets of presentations and timing was critical to hear the speaker of choice. Interesting to all were the images presented from facilities around the world and the methods organizations used to keep their employees and visitors safe. From practical eyewear storage solutions to the video surveillance usage, best practices were shown to be effective in keeping safety a priority. Participants were ready with many questions and took full opportunity to gain knowledge from the expert presenters.
For Susan’s full article, please see the May/June issue of the LIA TODAY newsletter.
Held on Tuesday, March 24, the BLS Appreciation Breakfast was enjoyed by all who attended. Participants each received new laser pointers with dual LED light combinations in slick little cases. LIA Executive Director Peter Baker was quick to point out safety requirements were met with the proper labeling attached.
Assistance was requested from the group in growing the BLS with new certified safety officers. Also discussed was the importance of sustaining one’s active status by monitoring certification maintenance (CM) points over the course of the CLSO’s 3-year cycle.
A raffle was held at the close of the meeting, where the lucky ticket holders won BLS ball caps, shirts and backpacks.
Click here to see raffle winners (Photos courtesy of Bill Ertle, CLSO, CMSLO)
Show your support to the BLS and your commitment to laser safety in a BLS polo!
BLS men’s and women’s short sleeved polo shirts and BLS caps are available for purchase. Buy yours today!
Download our BLS Merchandise Form , complete and return by fax, 407-380-5588 or call 407-380-1553 to place your order.
The 5th Annual Advanced LSO Workshop will be held August 4-6, 2009 at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, PA. It is co-sponsored this year by the US Department of Energy, University of Pennsylvania, and the Board of Laser Safety.
The BLS encourages you to attend this one-of-a-kind laser safety program, featuring topics not usually found in standard laser safety training. This year’s topics include standards and regulations, non-beam hazards, laser safety in research, lasers in biotechnology, and explaining laser technology. Look for an expanded medical session, with presentations on applications, audits, and smoke evacuation.
Continuing Education Units/points have been applied for ABIH, ASSE, HPS and BLS. The BLS will be awarding 2.5 CM points for those who attend the entire event, plus additional points are available to those presenting a paper at the workshop.
The LIA is proud to announce the newly revised ANSI standard, Z136.5-2009 Safe Use of Lasers in Educational Institutions. Originally released in 2000, this standard addresses laser safety concerns and situations characteristic of the educational environment.
Predominate changes to the Z136.5 include harmonization of the laser classification scheme to agree with the Z136.1-2007 Safe Use of Lasers and the IEC 60825-1. Other significant revisions can be seen in the laser safety warning signs section, laser laboratory layouts, standard operating procedures (SOPs), figures, and tables. The definitions section has been updated as well, with some terms being redefined and the addition of many new terms and definitions to the standard.
The standard can be purchased online at www.lia.org/store or by calling 800.34LASER. It is available in print or electronic format.