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7th ANNUAL LASER SAFETY OFFICER WORKSHOP AUGUST 2-4, 2011

By: Ahsan Chowdary

The beautiful MIT campus in Cambridge Massachusetts was the venue for the 7th Annual DOE LSO Workshop. With MIT celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, it was a perfect venue for the workshop. Thanks to the excellent organization by host chair Judi Reilly and Workshop Director Ken Barat everything was very well organized. BLS was the Promotional Sponsor for this year’s event.

The premise for the workshop is that it covers topics not found in standard laser safety training, and solutions to real-world laser safety issues by experts in the field. This was most certainly fulfilled by the excellent array of talks and presentations over the next two and a half days.

Over 150 attendees representing Laser safety professionals from a wide spectrum of fields enjoyed every aspect of the workshop. Accomplished author and more than 35 years veteran of the field of lasers and fiber optics, Jeff Hecht was the keynote speaker. He gave an excellent talk on historical background and future direction of Laser technology and industry.

Major foci of the workshop were the laser safety issues in Industrial, research and Medical settings. The panel discussion on performing an effective audit was of great interest and generated a lot of audience participation with comments and questions. The update on Laser accident database by Bill Ertle and Medical Hot topics by Penny Smalley were also amongst the salient features.

The favorite presentation, judging by the loud applause and cheering, was definitely the talk “Developing a Laser Safety Culture” by Antonio Triventi. This was not only very informative but also very entertaining as well. Ken Barat joked about the presenter being available for motivational speeches.

From its humble beginnings 7 years ago, thanks to the tireless efforts of Ken Barat, this event has become the premier event for LSOs, MLSOs wanting to update and expand their knowledge. The workshop has become such a success that the list of sponsors was basically the who’s who of the laser safety industry.

Lunch and learn sessions provided an excellent opportunity to learn about latest versions of Lazan and Easy Haz Laser hazard analysis software, CLSO certification information session by BLS generated a lot of interest and was very well attended. The vendor displays were set up in the spacious lobby, showing latest in the laser safrty eyewear and related equipment. This was an excellent venue for the attendees to discuss their specific laser safety issues with industry experts and explore the possibility of custom solutions to unique problems.

It was not all shoptalk there were ample opportunities for socializing. Day one social event, Red Sox Baseball Game, sponsored by Kentek Corp, was extremely popular with tickets being a very sought after and rare commodity. After the hectic schedule of day two, MIT Museum Night, sponsored by NoIR Laser, was an excellent networking opportunity. Participants mingled in the relaxed yet intriguing surroundings of the technology displays at the MIT Museum.

As in previous two years the workshop was also the venue for the annual meeting of the U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Facility Contractors Group on Laser Safety (DOE-EFCOG), it was held on day three after the LSO workshop proceedings concluded.

If you missed it this year, plan to attend next year’s workshop. Anyone interested in laser safety issues must make it a point not to miss this one of a kind annual event.

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