In our never-ending effort to ensure the best and most
efficient testing methods for certifying laser safety officers, the Board of Laser Safety proudly announces a new partnership with third-party testing service Comira.
Comira is a full-service testing company for occupational licensure, certification, assessment and educational testing programs. It provides expertise throughout the testing lifecycle, including
test development, computer-based testing, and result management.
The testing company prides itself on an adaptive, innovative, responsive programming experience that affords the flexibility to deliver customizable solutions that will allow BLS to achieve its
goals. “We are here to serve you and your members by providing unparalleled customer experience — from our psychometric team to the call center agents and our professionally licensed test center
network,” Comira said in a statement about the new partnership.
Psychometrics – Comira’s in-house teams of PhD psychometricians will work closely with the CLSO and CMLSO Review Boards to update and develop job-related examination programs that
adhere to the highest technical standards. “We are committed to developing open and communicative working relationships with BLS and subject matter experts,” the company said.
Test Center Network – With a testing network of approximately 500 sites throughout the United States, Comira collaborates with professional testing sites as well as academic
testing sites, including NCTA-accredited universities. Comira has flexible scheduling for year-round testing. Their in-house call center will help BLS candidates register for testing locations and
times that work for them.
Comira’s ownership team has over 20 years’ experience in the testing industry operating a secure, corporate-controlled data center for BLS’ peace of mind. Comira provides various services to
myriad industry partners such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, the American Society of Pain
Educators, American Veterinary Dental College, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, American Registry of MRI Specialists and the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Board of Laser Safety
In Safety News
ASC Z136 – members voted to approve revisions to the Procedures for the Development of Z136 American National Standards.
As discussed at the March 2015 annual meeting, changes made to ANSI’s Essential Requirements necessitated the revision by requiring inclusion of an antitrust policy. The consensus of the members
present was to adopt the policy as written in the Essential Requirements:
“American National Standards shall be developed in accordance with applicable antitrust and competition laws, and meetings amongst competitors to develop American National Standards are to be
conducted in accordance with these laws.”
Also updated, the membership structure of the Editorial Working Group (section 6.2) now reflects the addition of a designee from technical subcommittee 7 (TSC-7) with the responsibility of
effecting a final review of the accuracy of the examples within the standards document under review.
Finally, a “shall” statement from normative Appendix A (A.1 (c)) was removed. This statement made it mandatory to include a proposed draft or outline when submitting a Subcommittee Project
Initiation Request (SPIR) to the ADCOM. While removal of the statement does not prohibit the SSC chair from submitting this documentation if desired, several past chairs recommended the action as an
outline remains relatively static from one standard revision to the next.
The Procedures for the Development of Z136 American National Standards is available for download from the committee’s website, www.z136.org.
CLSO and CMLSO Review Boards Formed!
The BLS Bylaws, which govern the Board of Laser Safety’s internal affairs, provides for the formation of a CLSO or CMLSO Review Board to “establish qualifications required to sit for an exam,
determine exam content, and determine certification maintenance criteria for the corresponding certification.” As mentioned in the last issue of the LIA Today, at its annual meeting in March the BLS
Board of Commissioners recommended reconstitution of both boards to further the mission of the BLS.
The CLSO Review Board, chaired by Ben Edwards, is charged with revising the CLSO exam to comply with the ANSI Z136.1-2014 Safe Use of Lasers standard. Timing of the update is in line with
the dissemination of the standard, now in circulation for roughly eighteen months. Candidates should be familiarizing themselves with this version of the document. It is anticipated work on the exam
revision will commence in August.
On the medical front, Vangie Dennis kicked off the inaugural meeting of the recently revamped CMLSO Review Board. Chairing the group tasked with reviewing and revising current study materials for
CMLSO exam candidates, Ms. Dennis rallied the team to “enhance program awareness” and “take the study materials to the next level.” Patti Owens captured perfectly the viewpoint of so many candidates
stating, “People are overwhelmed, there is too much to master [coming straight from an MLSO course] right before an exam.” It is essential candidates realize the need to study prior to attempting the
exam. Members discussed more elaboration on the standard’s [ANSI Z136.3-2011] topics and principles, as well as including sample questions and best practices for worst-case scenarios. Once completed
these study materials will be more than just a guideline to help prepare for the CMLSO exam, rather they will fill a void for the new MLSO by touching on all aspects related to the position, from
common procedures to clinical specialties.
The Basics of the Certified Hazardous Materials
Manager (CHMM) and how this is Relevant to a CLSO
Contributed by Richard W. Murphy, CLSO, CIH, CSP, CHMM
As a CLSO, I have recently become a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, or CHMM. This certification is sponsored by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). It may not be
intuitive that the CHMM certification could help with the issues that CLSOs face. Therefore, I offer the following thoughts about how I see CHMM certification being quite relevant for CLSOs.
First of all, the CHMM is a generalist certification for the Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) arena. The CHMM covers numerous EHS topics at a relatively shallow depth, and the result is
knowledge and appreciation of many other EHS areas. It helps with the jargon used in other EHS fields and facilitates more comfort working together with these other EHS fields.
However, my main point is the subject matter relevance of the CHMM to laser safety. The following is a list of CHMM basics and how they are relevant for a CLSO:
1. Air & water regulations – Tie in with waste products resulting from the materials used to produce a laser beam or from wastes generated by the laser hitting a target. Air & water
regulations are in place for both industrial & medical settings.
2. Basics of Chemistry – Ties to a better understanding of the nomenclature of laser types (e.g. CO2 lasers, Helium Neon lasers, Nd:YAG lasers)
3. Biological hazards & infectious substances – Tie to these hazards as they are found generated by lasers in medical fields as airborne decomposition products of biological tissue.
4. Control of hazardous energy – Ties in with the need to lock out laser systems or interlock laser systems to prevent exposure to any type of hazardous energy.
5. Controlling workplace chemical exposures (Industrial Hygiene recognition, evaluation & controls; indoor air quality) – Ties to laser generated air contaminants (LGAC) and their recognition,
evaluation & control. Example: production of Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) when a CO2 laser strikes Kevlar under certain conditions.
6. Distributing, storage & use of hazardous materials – Ties to chemicals used with laser systems as laser media (e.g., CO2, chemical lasers), or as shield gases, or as laser target
7. Emergency preparedness & response, plus incident reporting – Ties in with the potential for facility damage from fire, as well as the potential for human injury and the associated response
and reporting requirements.
8. Hazard communication – Ties in with the use of chemicals in laser systems as well as chemical decomposition products generated by lasers striking targets.
9. Hazardous properties of materials – Ties with the thermal (cryogenic or overheating) hazards of lasers, pressurized gases used, and the decomposition products generated upon combustion.
10. Health & safety regulations overview – Ties in with the OSHA general duty clause and general safety awareness. This also fuels appreciation of why a Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
needs to be written, accurate, and followed.
11. Hierarchy of controls (Engineering, Administrative, PPE) – Ties to laser controls. For example, Laser enclosures (engineering controls) are preferable to training & and “authorized only”
policies (administrative controls), which are preferable to reliance upon laser eyewear (PPE).
12. Ionizing radiation – Ties in with the X-ray radiation that can be produced by electrical components of laser systems or with x-rays that are produced when a very high powered beam hits certain
targets, producing plasma radiation, which is an ionizing gas.
13. Legal liabilities – Ties in with the potential improper use of high powered lasers.
14. Managing solid & hazardous wastes – Ties in with the hazardous and non-hazardous wastes that are generated as a result of laser use and that require compliant disposal.
15. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Ties to laser eye protection.
16. Safety & health management systems – Ties in with the overall management of risks involved with lasers and laser systems, ensuring that all risks are understood and controlled.
17. Toxicology – Ties in with laser injury toxicology. The toxicology to the eye of laser radiation continues to be refined. Depending on the laser frequency, the location of where the eye is
damaged will differ, and depending on laser power or energy, the extent of eye damage differs.
The CHMM is remarkably on target for many issues that CLSOs deal with. You may wish to check out the IHMM (Institute of Hazardous Materials Management) website for more information.
Basic Education Available from
OP-TEC, the NSF National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, develops and supports two-year colleges to educate and train technicians. Laser Institute of America works with OP-TEC to
provide employer advice and information on laser manufacturing — and to assure that the colleges have laser safe laboratories and teach laser safety.
OP-TEC has produced several eTextbooks on optics, lasers and technical math that contain video tutorials to enhance learning concepts, applications, lab practices and required math.
Course 1, Fundamentals of Light and Lasers, teaches the basics of geometric and wave optics, laser safety and laser operation.
Course 2, Laser Systems and Applications, teaches about laser pulse techniques, second harmonic generation, measuring laser output characteristics, systems integration and troubleshooting. Six
types of lasers are described in detail.
The video tutorials used in these courses are available for examination and are accessible at www.optecvideo.opteccrm.org/. OP-TEC recommends that
the videos for course 2 be used in conjunction with the course materials.
OP-TEC has also incorporated these course materials into on-line courses for retraining technicians and engineers that are already employed. For additional information about on- line courses,
For more information about OP-TEC, materials and services contact OP-TEC at: (254)751-9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in a college near you to teach these courses, contact OP-TEC for assistance. www.op-tec.org
Featured CLSO: Denny Rossbach
Tell us about
I am a systems engineer, but I have worked with, and on lasers and laser systems since 1968. I have a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, a M.S. in Space Physics
from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and BPh in (Engineering) Physics from The University of Minnesota.
I was a crew member and responsible for aligning the laser on the Airborne Laser Laboratory which destroyed air-to-air missiles in flight in the early 1980’s and have worked on most of the
Directed Energy High Power systems:
Advanced Tactical Laser – Ground Test-Director and I&T Lead
The Airborne Laser (ABL) – AVIT System test Plan Author, Pre-test Simulation, LSO
Relocatable High Energy Laser System – I&T and LSO
High Energy Laser Mobility Demonstrator – LSO and Systems Safety
Man Portable High Energy Laser System – LSO and Field Test
I also worked on a number of solid state laser systems and optical designs including Adaptive Optics for European VLT and the first commercial communications fiber laser. These systems have ranged
from kilowatt to megawatt class. I recently retired from Boeing where I was the Directed Energy Systems LSO and where over 100 Class 3B and Class 4 lasers were used. I am now consulting for two small
businesses in the local area. My first Laser Eye Exam was in 1968 before high speed film was used and I helped demonstrate that the original government exam was potentially damaging from the
What challenges have you encountered?
I have never been on an effort where personnel were seriously injured or where their vision was damaged with the lasers we have used. It has occasionally been challenging to maintain a
safety-oriented outlook when system schedules were at risk.
How has becoming certified benefited you in your career?
My certification immediately involved me with Boeing enterprise-level responsibilities. I was moved to Boeing Test and Evaluation, included in a number of process manage`ment teams, consulted by
dozens of Boeing sites, both in the US and overseas regarding lasers, laser safety, flight test, and import-export issues. I was assigned as LSO for several flight test programs and invited to help
rewrite the company guides and training for laser safety. I attended ILSC in Florida and met many other LSOs and MLSOs across a variety of industries. My certification was key in allowing me to
convince Boeing to be a sponsor during the 2015 ILSC. Over time, I have joined the Z136.1, Z136.6 and TSC-5 subcommittees and find that activity very rewarding. Don’t hesitate, get certified!
Featured CMLSO: Robert Scroggins BSN, RN
What is your
I became a Combat Medic in the Army in 1983, LPN in 1985. I earned an Associates Degree in Nursing in 1993 from Northern Kentucky University, and a BSN in 2011 from The College of Mount Saint
Joseph in Cincinnati.
Where do you work?
I currently work at Buffalo Filter as the Clinical Programs Manager. Prior to that, I worked at a major health system in Northern Kentucky in the OR as Resource Nurse, Clinical Technology and
Deputy Laser Safety Officer. I was there for 25 years.
When did you start working with lasers?
I took my first Laser course in 1993 as a staff nurse in surgery, but my love of lasers goes back to my physics class, my freshman year in High School (1979) when I convinced my teacher to buy a
laser for our lab. It was a Helium Neon laser and was huge; I remember having to lead a fundraising campaign in order to buy it. We had a lot of fun learning about lasers and masers as well, and I
did a few speeches on them in speech class in high school.
How long ago did you become the LSO?
Wow, that is a long time ago, I am guessing around 1994 or 1995.
Do you like being the LSO?
I do like being the LSO, even though I don’t get to do as much as I used to in the hospital, I still get to do a fair amount of education.
What are the challenges of LSOs today?
The science of biophotonics is changing and growing almost daily. Different techniques and new wavelengths are being utilized all the time. As CMLSO’s, we must stay on top of our game in order to
facilitate improved treatments for our patients using Lasers and other photonic devices.
How has becoming certified benefited you in your career?
It gave credence to what I said; my peers knew that I had good information because of my certification. Our policy manuals and educational material was always available for anyone that had a need
for information. Becoming certified makes the position more professional and held to a higher standard.